Besides changing some of the leadership roles this week, the Fort Wayne Komets are also working harder in practice, skating longer and harder, and hitting during drills in front of the net and in the corners.
``Guys were getting gritty in the corners, and I think every practice has to be like that,'' new alternate captain Leo Thomas said. ``If it's up to me to start hitting guys in practice, I will. It has to be game-like situations in practice, and then it will carry over to the game.”
Thomas and alternate captain Kaleigh Schrock were the leaders in practice Wednesday, a day after Guy Dupuis was removed as captain and P.C. Drouin as alternate caption.
``I think it's a wake-up call, but at the same time, I think those guys are still going to lead by example,'' Schrock said. ``This is a team that needed a wake-up call, and it's a good time to do that, but those are character guys and they are going to be leaders without an `A' or a `C.' They've been good leaders, but unfortunately, there had to be an example, and it just happened to be those guys.''
The Komets are still attempting to make some trades and will have to make some roster moves as Danko Mironovic and Derek Patrosso are ready to come off injured reserve. Defenseman Craig Cescon may need to sit out another week with a concussion.
The Komets have lost five games in a row heading into Friday's contest at Quad City, and have the Central Hockey League's worst record at 5-13-1.
``I think we can do everything better,'' Thomas said. ``A lot of things are going wrong right now. Obviously we're not scoring. I think we're playing pretty good defensively. Our overall game has to be better. We have to work way harder. Teams are just out-manning us in the corners and stuff like that.''
Schrock said changing leaders will not change the season. Maybe changing practices can help things improve.
``Winning is a habit, and so is losing,'' he said. ``This year we've tried to just turn it on and off at times, and that can't happen. We won three in a row, turned it on for a weekend, and then went back to the same old habits. It starts in practice. Today and yesterday were long, hard practices, and that's what we need to break this habit. We need to start winning battles in practice, and I think that's the key really.
``Everyone has to be better and step up a bit,” he said. “That's the best way to look at it. We don't have a leader? Well, we all have to be leaders now. Everyone has to be a captain on this team.”