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Tailing the Komets

Komets lose 3-0

Todd Robinson scored a power-play goal in the third and then Matt Pierce scored an empty-netter. Nick Boucher made 25 saves and Pier-Olivier Pelletier 33 for the IceMen who lead the Komets for first place by five points now and also play Dayton tomorrow.

Komets easily had twice as many scoring chances, but never could put one in.


Sun, 02/26/2012 - 3:33pm

I'm not surprised by the loss to Evansville.  They are hot right now, had a huge crowd to play in front of, and was playing an injury depleted team in Fort Wayne.  Injuries are part of the game, and for most of the game, played Evansville pretty even.  Still, it was a four point game and one which will make it hard for the Komets to overtake them. 

That is if the Komets goal, right now, is to overtake them.  I'm not sure what to think as the list of injured players keeps growing.  This may surprise some as I think part of the problem rests with David Franke.

Let me explain.  If your roster is at full strength or even a man down, a team can fight through the adversity.  But when you start games two or more men short, you tax the other players by their having to make up for the missing.  Add the number of games scheduled in such a short period of time and you are gambling big time. Fatigue occurs and when the fatigue is constant, injury can occur more readily.  Add to the fact that Chaulk gets hurt in a fight, and Molle is suspended, the bench shortens even more.  The GM needs to step in and bring in a player to relieve the roster.  In this case maybe two.  But nothing is done.  Besides D. Molle ( out for a considerable time with his groin injury), Bennefield is put on the IR with a leg injury.  Then Chaulk and suspensions.  To me, it is remarkable the team went 3-1-1 before last night's loss.  Kudos to most of the players for their effort.

As it stands today Chaulk is out, Bennefield is out, Smith is out, D.Molle is out, Podshendyalov is questionable, as is Starenky.  Maybe Starenky and Podshendyalov shouldn't have played last night but were almost forced to.  Obviously Smith put it on the line Saturday, but probably shouldn't have, but again, was needed because of such a short bench.

Look, I love the Franke brothers as much as anyone.  They have all been very nice to me.  Still, when a car has eight cylinders, it needs them all to continue to run smoothly.  Take one or two away and eventually the engine will blow up.  The GM is the mechanic on this team.  When the team is running smoothly, then stay out of the way.  But when it is breaking down he needs to do something about it. They are down to one center on the team (Rizk) and one other who can play center ( Thomas).  Has Thomas done anything this year to make you confident in him?  It only gets worse and worse.

So with the lack of movement by the front office during this time of trial,  I ask again, is it the Komets goal to overtake Evansville this year? Or are they just wanting to ride the season out and try to get everyone healthy before the playoffs?

Evansville plays at Dayton today.  That game will even things up as far as games played is concerned.  If Evansville wins they will be seven points out in front.  Looking backward the Komets are seven points from missing the playoffs. 

Which goal is it?  I wonder.  And I wonder when, and if, these  guys are coming back.  No one wants to give any details. And I'm wondering how bad of shape this roster has to get before some help arrives.

Sun, 02/26/2012 - 5:29pm

Is there a reason why the Komets keep 3 goalies on the list. Also, if Alex Kangas were not on the list, would it be possible for the Komets to acquire another player to fill in?

Blake Sebring
Sun, 02/26/2012 - 5:59pm

No. Goaltenders have a seperate IR list.

Consider this, Alan. Where are you going to get a player to come in knowing he's only going to be here for one game because some guys are hoping to play Tuesday? There's certainly no one you could get from in town with the kind of conditioning necessary to play one game and be available in time to make the bus ride to Evansville. If you do sign someone, how do you make room for them on the overall roster? Signing someone means you have to put Smith on IR when he might be ready to play Tuesday or Wednesday, which defeats the whole purpose of bringing someone in. No one would make that trade.

Even if they did sign someone, they'd just sit on the bench anyway because they don't know the systems or whatever. Do you really think Al would play someone in a big game like last night when he doesn't know them or what they can do? Never happen. He couldn't afford to.

Understand you are frustrated, but playing short-handed is just part of the deal in the minors, and they were 3-0-1 playing that way. It has probably done them some good because they had to play better team defense and tighten up some things, which they did. If Artie doesn't give that goal away last night, who knows what happens?

Evansville played short-handed, two or three guys short, for two months and it certainly didn't hurt them.

If the Komets had an affiliation like they had with Evansville a couple of years ago, then you could make the case for bringing someone in quickly. They don't have one like that this year, and there's no A-level league close to have one with.

More than worrying about playing short-handed, they need EVERY forward to somehow find a way to score a goal once in a while. That would do them 100 times more good right now than an extra body.

Mon, 02/27/2012 - 11:41am

Thanks for answering, Blake.  I appreciate you attempting to answer my questions when, of course, you didn't have to.  It would have been easy for you just to ignore my comment so I am grateful for your response.

Yes, I am frustrated.  I get frustrated when I see something that is in need of attention and gets none.  Yes, I understand the tribulation for Franke as a "AA" general manager.  He doesn't have a "magic wand" to make someone appear.  Still. he has contacts all over the hockey world.  And, yes, a player brought up wouldn't know the system for sure.  But all you are asking a new guy is to play a simple game, stay on your man, and play some shifts to take the pressure off the bench. 

Maybe he has done this, but I would start out with ex-Komet coaches still active whether it is NHL, AHL, or ECHL.  A guy like Bingham in Elmira just might have an idea or even a player to loan.  Or maybe someone in a higher league has a youngster who needs to play and they don't have room.  I would explore all my options.  It never hurts to ask.  You are correct about placing more men on the roster, too.  If you brought someone in, then maybe someone would have to go.  There are plenty of options.  You pointed out that if the forwards would score one more goal quite a difference would be made.  There are plenty of options here, also.  Thorne, Mele, Shrock, Thomas, and Bennefield to a certain extent, haven't shown much 5/6ths into the year.  I doubt that they will start blooming now.

Regarding your comment about Evansville playing so shorthanded for two months prompted me to look up their stats.  Out of their top 11 scorers, 9 have played 51 games or more.  Two, O'Connor and Beaulieu have played 47 and 49 respectively.  Their top two goaltenders have played 24 and 30 games. The Icemen have played 53 games as have the Komets.

If you look at the goals for and goals against you will find striking similarities between most of the top four teams in the Turner Conference.  Very close.  As the Komets find themselves today, they are getting close to the "out of the playoffs" postition.  Especially when you find that Rapid City has two games in hand.

So, I guess it all comes down to injuries, and that is out of everyone's control, so to speak.  What is the prognosis on Chaulk, D. Molle, Smith, Podshendyalov, Starenky, and why in the world did Bennefield come out to warm up Friday and then get scratched? Just what is going on?

Blake Sebring
Mon, 02/27/2012 - 1:09pm

Bennefield couldn't play because Nick was still under suspension and the Komets were not allowed to replace him on the roster.

Mon, 02/27/2012 - 2:03pm

Regarding Bennefield.  I must be out of the loop on roster rules.  If he couldn't play Friday because Boucher was still under suspension, why didn't he play Saturday?  I am hoping eveything is OK, and without saying more Blake, I am sure you know what I mean.