Turnaround team

February 10, 2006

Kalamazoo’s locker room was as quiet as I’ve ever heard after Friday night’s 5-4 loss to the Komets. I said hi to Dusty Virag and felt a little guilty for even breaking the silence that much. The Komets’ locker room was hopping, as they set themselves up for a possible outstanding weekend and pushed to 19-5-1 over their last 20 games. Any team would take that. They might be able to convince everyone to forget 5-11-2 by the end of the season.

That’s all pretty amazing considering how bad they looked in the first 30 minutes. It’s remarkable to me that this was the Komets’ first one-goal win in regulation since the second game of the season. That’s astonishing.

Looks like Rockford won the game and the war Friday night with Quad City. The teams combined for 127 penalty minutes with 78 going to the IceHogs. That’s interesting, but the most amazing stat to me is that both teams had seven power plays. Huh? That ref had to work darn hard to even that up.

I keep hearing everybody talking about Luke Sellers, and I hope everybody cuts him some slack if he can even come back. He’s missed the last year and a half with a knee injury and it’s ridiculous for some people to expect him to make a huge difference. If he can get back to half what he was before the injury, you gotta hand it to the guy. He’s not going to be the answer for the defensive holes, but he shouldn’t be expected to, either. That’s why the Komets’  haven’t put him on the roster yet, giving him as much time as he needs to get ready. He might not get back to full strength, if he can, until next year.

Sure was great to see Kzoo in Fort Wayne, though. That was a fun atmosphere tonight, and HURRAY! To the Komets’ organization for making the announcements about fans staying in their seats until there is a stoppage in play.    

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24 Responses to “Turnaround team”

  1. 5 For Fighting Says:

    Blake long time reader, first time poster. I have enjoyed reading this blog for some time now. I am an avid K’s fan basically grew up with Komet hockey and would like to share some of my thoughts on the K’s. First last nights game, another win and against a quality team like Kzoo. The K’s outplayed Kzoo for a period and a half. The second period was the best I have seen them play all year. My only problem with last night is this. I know a lot of fans have been very hard on Coach P and sometimes I would say they are correct, but last night I feel the lack luster effort in the first period has to lay squarely on the shoulders of the Captain and his Alternates. How can a team come out flat against a team like Kzoo? We have played them 4 times up in Kzoo all games have been somewhat physical and chippy. Even the last game against them Chaulk sent a message early in the game not with his scoring or passing ability, but with his fist! Where was he last night or his Alternates? Any one of them could have tried to change the momentum last night, but none did. To me that was a disappointment. They have equally responsibility to motivate their teammates in any way possible. Now I know we are not entitled to hear or see what happens in the locker room, but to me sometimes that motivation has to take place on the ice with a good body check, a good face wash in a scrum in front of the net, or a good old fashion fight. Now I am happy the K’s won last night and we caught Kzoo napping in the second period and out played them. We have a great chance at an 8 point week which is huge, but let’s not put the motivation on the shoulders of the Coach all the time.

    I feel this team has some talent, but not the talent, top to bottom, that Rockford, Muskegon, and Kzoo does. In order to beat them we have to out play them. Blake you even have written an article about this or what I call winning ugly. Last night’s win was somewhat ugly when you think about it. We also have to play a physical game something that all K’s fans agree on. I thought about this a lot as to why we are not a physical team. 1st it is personnel, 2nd we have never had to come out and play a physical game. Remember this team is use to being in 1st place overall and when teams played them they were afraid to play physical against us because of our powerplay, so most teams played tentative against us. Now the shoe is on the other foot where we have to take our game to the other team and hit, grind, and push them around a little. I can remember last year we would have trouble against teams like Danbury who really did not care about our skill and they would push and shove us all over the rink. I think we have only beaten them 1 time. When we played Muskegon in the finals we did not have an answer for their type of play of running guys and even Frenchy, but we owned them in regular season especially up in Muskegon. What changed? Their skill and physical play we could not match them and lost. This is an issue we can not address until the off-season. We are what we are at this point. Win the second half of the season in our division we are in the play-off’s and anything can happen. For now let’s win tonight and on Sunday and wrap up an 8 point week.

  2. Tony E Says:

    Ok Blake. I’ve got to pick on you for a second here. “quote” pushed to 19-5-1 over their last 20 games. “end Quote” Ummmmmm now I admit I was never good at math but………………….. 😉
    I am interested to see what Sellars can do.
    Lance could probably tell you a few stories about the guy from back in juniors. They were the major aggitators on some very good Ottawa teams. They wiped the ice clean with Windsor most times I saw them play. Put them on a line together and they might just aggitate other teams to death.

  3. Hoss Says:

    I’m glad that the Komets made the ann. about staying in your seat, but they should have ended it with, “Or the fans around you will be able to sit you down themselves!”

  4. Rick Says:

    A very satisfying win after a poor start. Now will team management get rid of the stupid promotion with the white disks? If anyone got thrown out of the game for throwing them on the ice during play, I didn’t see it. I didn’t hear an announcement about it either, but those usually don’t help and often make it worse with some of the idiots in the seats. What does put a stop to it is giving the bum’s rush out the door to the clueless fans guilty of this idiocy. I hope the K’s get rid of this promotion before a player suffers an injury, maybe even career ending. It has happened before and could again.

  5. April Says:

    To the not leaving your seat during play announcement they should add that if you sit on an aisle, YOU WILL HAVE TO LET PEOPLE THROUGH! The “fans” sitting on the aisle of our row last night refused to get up to let us through, even at intermission! I could understand being frustrated if we wanted them to get up during play, but at intermission?!?!?! If you don’t want to get up to let people through, sit in the middle!

  6. Unit Says:

    Rick, I agree that under no circumstances (except a hat trick) should anything be thrown on the ice. However, I don’t see a paper disk causing any kind of injury, career ending or otherwise, short of a papercut. It is quite unfortunate that a few idiots always have to ruin it for everyone.

  7. scoops Says:

    They are not looking sharp at all lately and while we still may make the playoffs, it doesn’t tell me that “we’re turning this around” to the point of a being a contender. I don’t care where they were to start the year and what they have done since December. Its where your going, not where you have been.

    Any see the Muskegon/K-zoo boxscore tonight? 200+ penalty minutes….WOW.

  8. chuckitt Says:

    hey unit, youre cpmpletely off base there. any kind of a foreign object on the ice can cause a skater to lose control and cause an injury. the whole point is that the white disk is the color of the ice and maybe not all will be seen good enough to remove. and as far as the ks go….ho hum. cant dominate the bad teams, then well just waste out money on a first round.

  9. Unit Says:

    If you can’t manage to skate over something that is 1 millimeter thick without falling you should never, ever be on a pair of skates. The only person in the history of hockey who would fall over one of those is Freddy Bolduc and we know how that worked out. Snow buildup and skate divots are far thicker than a paper ring.

  10. Tony E Says:

    chuckitt is 100% correct. snow buildup and ice divots are very different from something that is not made up of ice. The skate blade is designed to glide over ice/snow etc. It is not designed to glide over something with the texture of paper or plastic (I don’t know what these disks are as I havent been down since thanksgiving). I can tell you the faster you are skating, the more dangerous an object on the ice can be. It can cause you to “hydroplane”

    All this being said, with the exception of a game a few years back where people threw plastic bottles at the refs as they left the ice, Komets fans have for the most part respected the barrier between themselves and the playing area. I would be kind of sad if that has changed.

  11. Unit Says:

    Why do I picture you and Chuck sitting around watching cartoons where Elmer Fudd steps on a banana peel and falls off a cliff? At any rate, I don’t particularly care for that promotion myself, I’m just saying that the “3 Stooges” argument may not be the best one to use against it. Bottom line: Who cares? Paper rings are the least of the teams worries right now. They have a good streak going. So let’s agree to disagree and watch them continue the winning ways.

  12. Hit Somebody!!! Says:

    How in the H…E…double hockey sticks do we lose to Port Huron last night? The same Flags team that we all felt sorry for on Wednesday because they looked like a Pee Wee team with an above average goalie. We blew another lead, this time 4-1. Blake, do you have any stats handy that show the meltdowns the Komets have had this year with 2 or more goal leads in the late second or third period? We blew one last week, almost blew it to Port Huron on Wednesday, and looked pretty close to blowing it against K-zoo. What does it take to keep these guys focused for 60 minutes? I know we have had a pretty good run of late, but these games we have under control and go into cruise control worry me. We don’t have a good enough team to take off shifts that lead to poor stretches of periods when we have a lead. We have to play smart hard-nosed hockey every shift on the ice.

    I wonder what team will show up tonight against the Motor City Maggets. This is another team that we should, I say should, handle easily on our home ice. But will we see another Sunday of no effort and no will to win? We have to finish teams off, we have to finish off this week or the win against K-zoo means nothing.

  13. Hit Somebody!!! Says:

    About Luke Sellars. The reason why people are getting excited about what he could bring to this team is because we haven’t seen anyone brought in here who can make a difference and I think everyone is praying that this may be the guy. We have heard bits and pieces about him. The things I have heard is toughness on the blue-line. Do we have that right now? I would have to say maybe 1/8 of the time. I am impressed when Jorde makes a big hit or drops the gloves. But does he play physical 1/2 of the game? Rob Guinn is just out there. We are lucky if he doesn’t cough the puck up and are probably better off when he ices the puck constantly. This team preached toughness and physical play after the road game in K-zoo and we haven’t seen it since. I just want this team to play a smart game for 60 minutes with body checking thrown in. It doesn’t have to be gooning it up like the K-zoo and Muskegon game last night. Just guys who move their men off the puck and away from the net like we saw 3 years ago.

    So when we hear that the Komets have a 2nd round NHL draft pick in town, YES, we all get a little bit excited. I hope everyone gives him a chance if things start out slow due to his knee. We all are hoping he can bring something to this team that we lack. Even if it is just a spark and maybe some wisdom of what it takes to get to the next level as a team.

  14. scoops Says:

    The disk idea was a bad one pure and simple. You hear about it down by the zamboni every single time it’s done. Probably will not happen next season, at least not in white.

    As for what will it take for them to stay focused for 60 minutes? Maybe they should all watch Major League and do what they did, eh?

  15. Tony E Says:

    Unit, I stick to educational programs like
    Bob The Builder myself.
    I have a scary question for everyone. What happens if/when St. Pierre gets hurt again. Kurk has not shown the ability to steal a game when our defence goes through one of their brain cramp periods. With Kevins pattern of not staying 100% healthy for long stretches, it is a reason for concern.
    As for Sellars, it has been about 6 years since I have seen him play but I would love to watch him and Lance on the ice at the same time again. Every other team in the league will HATE IT!

  16. dnlkomets Says:

    Komets do not have a chance to become a top three in the league as far as records go. It’s too late in the season and I think most of us have accepted that. The Komets do however have a good chance of making the playoffs and really thats all they need. Each of the 8 teams that make the playoffs have the same chance of winning it. Thats the good news unfortunetly. The bad news is in order to keep the record high enough and then be successful in the playoffs drastic changes need to be made. I’ll sum it up because we’ve all wrote it and read it a thousand times before. Komets need to play consistantly in a game or stretch of games and they need to be tough every single minute of the game. Those key points are something that they’ve been working on all year but with little prevail. They’ve got around two more months to get it right. Lets see some changes now, or lets talk about next year.

  17. Hit Somebody!!! Says:

    Scoops, I realize that you probably made your last statement with an extra dose of sarcasm, but I don’t think if any of our guys played a full 60 minutes of hockey, that it would be anything like the NHL. The U and the N are two different games of hockey totally, I think you can agree. The UHL is guys standing in one spot and the NHL is guys flying around the ice constantly. I don’t have to explain the difference in talent level and the abilities the NHL players have compared to the UHL. I don’t think it is ridiculous to say that our guys need to play hockey 60 minutes a game or we will lose to the likes of…..dare I say……PORT HURON? There is no excuse for that. After another loss tonight with little effort, which I hope not, these guys will need to question themselves a little bit, eh?

  18. scoops Says:

    I really don’t think you got the joke. In the movie, what did the manager do to inspire the team to go on an incredible run and make the playoffs?

  19. Blake Says:

    Somehow I really doubt stripping Michael Franke is going to work.

  20. scoops Says:

    Well I was going to include that part of it but didn’t want to make the hens angry.

    Thanks Blake

  21. Tony E Says:

    Ok guys, for ONCE you have made me speechless…………………………….

  22. Blake Says:

    Hey, I could have really made everybody sick and said myself. I went easy on you.

  23. Tony E Says:

    ok….I am stepping AWAYYYYYYYY from my computer now….. gheesh when
    Ashley sees this……………. LOL

  24. Hit Somebody!!! Says:

    I got it now Scoops. I mis-read your message at first. Duh, what the crap was I thinking, definite brain cramp. Good one though. Maybe they could undress Jack Prindle. Or maybe not such a good idea. They’d probably never win again.


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