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Preview: Ice Chips 06'-07'

Ice Chips 06'-07'





Updated: 2008-08-06T00:01:00-04:00

 



Ice Chips has moved. Bookmark it, baby.

2008-08-06T00:01:00-04:00

Salutations, loyal readers of Ice Chips. The address for this page has changed. Please bookmark the following page and use it in the future: http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/Section?Category=BLOGS11 I would appreciate it if you passed on the change to any interested parties now...



Changes on the horizon

2008-08-04T21:20:02-04:00

Before we go any further, I must let you know that Ice Chips will be undergoing some exciting changes in the near future. On Wednesday, be sure you come to the web site (you should be several times daily, anyway),...



K's look IHL's best ... so far

2008-08-01T14:44:40-04:00

I've been giving some thought as to which teams in the International Hockey League look the best so far. Here are the rankings, bearing in mind it's still early in the offseason and this will all drastically change: 1) Fort...

I've been giving some thought as to which teams in the International Hockey League look the best so far. Here are the rankings, bearing in mind it's still early in the offseason and this will all drastically change:

1) Fort Wayne: The defending champions have already signed much of their star talent, including Colin Chaulk, Guy Dupuis, P.C. Drouin and Nick Boucher, and coach Al Sims is back. They still need to bring in some more youthful skill players, to replace Mathieu Curadeau and Luciano Aquino, assuming they don't return. But things look really good in Fort Wayne so far.

2) Port Huron: Like the Komets, the Icehawks aren't messing with a good thing. Goalie Larry Sterling is solid. Jamie Carroll, Tab Lardner and Jeff Zehr will light it up offensively. And Jamie Lovell is a nice defenseman.

3) Muskegon: Lots of big moves, lots of new talent, like Frank Littlejohn, Chad Woollard. Losing Jason Baird to a horrific offseason injury -- he was burned badly in an accident -- will hurt the Fury, but there's time for it to recover. Still, I'm waiting for the Fury to take on the physical persona of its coach, former Komet Bruce Ramsay.

4) Flint: I'm not too impressed so far, mostly because the faces are too familiar. With a full season, Justin DePretis should be a star in this league, though, and a healthy Matt Spezza could be a good goalie. But I'm surprised the Generals stuck with Peter South as coach, after he took over on an interim basis last season, and I'm not sure they have any players yet who will scare the opposition offensively or physically.

5) Bloomington: I'm really not sure about the hire of Jarrod Skalde as coach. I just believe, given the region and the arena, this should be a really attractive job, but the PrairieThunder hasn't gone with proven coaches. Still, with new ownership, hopefully this team will pay the bills and actually get and keep some talent. So far, there's some promise, with forwards Don Parsons and Jon Booras, but there's much work to be done for a team that simply must win this season.

6) Kalamazoo: Wow, new rookie coach Nick Bootland has nothing we can even analyze yet. Jason Tapp is a so-so goalie and Glenn Detulleo is  a solid center. Beyond that, the Wings have lots of work to do. It would be sad to see a proud market field another mediocre-to-bad team this season.

  • Fort Wayne-native Brian Gratz, a former goaltender with the Komets, has been hired to coach the Jersey Rockhoppers of the  Eastern Professional Hockey League. Last season, he coached the Indiana (Penn.) Ice Miners of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, which suspended operations when his team was 31-1-0.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




Reiter comments on move to England

2008-07-31T21:24:31-04:00

Kevin Reiter said the decision to leave the Komets to play for the Basingstoke Bison of the Elite League was a difficult one but he's looking forward to the excitement of the move. "I've never been to Europe and it's...



Reiter not returning to K's

2008-07-31T15:04:41-04:00

Kevin Reiter, who was selected as the International Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year, will not return for a second season with the Fort Wayne Komets. He has opted to play in England, according to general manager David Franke. "We're...



No gold star for this one

2008-07-30T15:34:13-04:00

You really can have too much of a good thing and they're about to prove that in Kalamazoo, Mich. They've been coloring the ice for years at Wings Stadium -- green on St. Patrick's Day, pink on Valentine's Day --...



Warner returns

2008-07-28T15:47:06-04:00

Hey, it's me, Ben Smith, Justin Cohn's stunt double. I'm making a guest appearance today on Ice Chips to pass along a couple pieces of news: * Brandon Warner has re-upped for another season with the Komets. The Carroll High...

Hey, it's me, Ben Smith, Justin Cohn's stunt double.  I'm making a guest appearance today on Ice Chips to pass along a couple pieces of news:

* Brandon Warner has re-upped for another season with the Komets. The Carroll High School grad scored six goals and 13 assists last season as a rookie defenseman and improved all season long, culminating with some solid play in the playoffs.

* In addition to Warner, the Komets also signed three players out of the Quebec juniors system, including a couple of solid offensive standouts.  Jean-Phillippe Roy-Vallieres scored 54 goals and 118 points last season and Samuel Bergeron put up 52 goals and 112 points for the Quebec entry in the QJAHL.

The Komets also added center Maxime Gravelle, who saw action in seven games for Vaudreuil of the QJAHL, scoring two goals and eight points.

-- Ben Smith, The Journal Gazette       

   




K's should have tryouts

2008-07-26T15:54:20-04:00

So, I have a suggestion for the Komets. Tell me what you think. I think the Komets should have open tryouts for hockey players in the Fort Wayne area. Now, before you start calling me crazy, I'm not suggesting, necessarily,...



Ex-Komets are everywhere

2008-07-22T20:39:05-04:00

Former Komets player Mike Butters, who played for the team from 1989 to 1991, was named general manager of the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals. The selection was made by the Admirals' parent club, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. Former...



Hukalo re-signs with Komets

2008-07-21T17:20:53-04:00

David Hukalo pondered retirement -- no, he doesn't know what he'll do post-hockey -- but a return to the Fort Wayne Komets for at least one more year was too good to pass up. Winning a championship last season was...

David Hukalo pondered retirement -- no, he doesn't know what he'll do post-hockey -- but a return to the Fort Wayne Komets for at least one more year was too good to pass up.

Winning a championship last season was too much fun. Having a pain-free body was too delightful.

Why not give it one more go-around?

"Yeah, let's do it one more year and see what happens," Hukalo said, after re-signing with the Komets on his 30th birthday, Monday. "If I go beyond this season will depend on how my body holds up. But last year, I didn't have any major injuries, which was quite a change from the few years before that.  ... If I played, I didn't want to go anywhere else but here. This is home."

Hukalo was selected as the International Hockey League's Best Defensive Forward last season, a year after winning the same honor with the Komets in the United Hockey League. His offensive production en route to regular-season and playoff championships made Hukalo even more valuable to the Komets, who brought him back for his sixth season with the team.

"We expect him to move up and play on the second line," general manager David Franke said. "Due to his breakout season, we know he can do it offensively and defensively. He's an important part of the hockey club, a key to us winning championships."

Hukalo had career highs in goals (20), assists (24) and points (44) in 70 games last season.

His return gives the Komets nine players, including seven from last season -- forwards Hukalo, Colin Chaulk, P.C. Drouin and Konstantin Shafranov, defensemen Guy Dupuis and Kevin Bertram, plus goaltender Nick Boucher.

"That's a bunch of older, veteran guys," Hukalo said, "and to have them back with their winning traits, it's good. They know how to play, how to win, and it's good to have that group back."

The Komets also determined their three-game exhibition schedule: They will play host to the Bloomington PrairieThunder on Oct. 8 at Memorial Coliseum, play at Kalamazoo, Mich., on Oct. 10, then finish a home-and-home series against the Wings on Oct. 11.

Fort Wayne's regular season begins Oct. 17 at Port Huron, Mich.

  • Franke said Luciano Aquino, who played last season with the Komets, will attended a prospect camp with the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. ... Franke is also still hopeful goalie Kevin Reiter will re-sign with the Komets.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




More shocking news from the IHL; update on Reiter

2008-07-18T15:20:37-04:00

It's uncanny how bad news always comes in threes. Recently signed Muskegon forward Jason Baird was critically injured in a landscaping accident near Youngstown, Ohio, the Fury said in a statement. Click here for the team's release. Here's more from...



More on Guinn, McLeod

2008-07-16T15:44:39-04:00

The memorial for former Komets player Rob Guinn, who died Saturday at 32, is later today in Ames, Iowa. I was asked to give a eulogy but, unfortunately, was unable to attend. However, I wanted to share with Guinn's many...

The memorial for former Komets player Rob Guinn, who died Saturday at 32, is later today in Ames, Iowa. I was asked to give a eulogy but, unfortunately, was unable to attend. However, I wanted to share with Guinn's many fans the written piece I sent to his wife, Brooke, to be  shared with the attendees at the service. It was one of the more difficult things I've written.

You can read it by clicking here: Download guinn_eulogy.doc

Meanwhile, the services for former Komets player Hartley McLeod, who died Monday at 81, will be Friday, 11 a.m., at Trinity United Methodist Church, 609 Putnam St., with calling one hour prior.

Calling also goes 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at D.O. McComb & Sons Foster Park Funeral Home, 6301 Fairfield Ave.

Click here to read the entire obituary on McLeod, well known in Fort Wayne also as the founder of Hartley's Place restaurant, who was also a linesman in the International Hockey League.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




Updates, we've got updates

2008-07-15T16:57:05-04:00

I have some more updates on the Komets' front. The Komets are still hopeful they can sign goaltender Kevin Reiter, who couldn't be reached for comment, but general manager David Franke said he's also getting interest from Europe. Forward Mitch...



K's sign 4, including Dupuis, Boucher

2008-07-15T15:47:14-04:00

The captain is coming back. The Cup-winning goaltender is, too. Among the Fort Wayne Komets' four signings Tuesday were longtime defenseman Guy Dupuis, who captained the team to their Turner Cup playoff championship last season, and Nick Boucher, who was...



Funeral and donation information for Rob Guinn

2008-07-15T14:25:39-04:00

I just got this information from Brooke Guinn, widow of former Komets defenseman Rob Guinn, who died in a car accident Saturday at the age of 32. He is survived by a 5-month-old daughter, Olivia. There will be a celebration...



I guess it finally hit me -- pow -- like a Rob Guinn hip-check

2008-07-14T21:57:21-04:00

I must admit, even though I have to write about death quite often -- more often than you might think, as a sports writer -- I find myself affected today. The Monday death of Hartley McLeod, who was 81 and...



Former Komet McLeod dies, while K's still mourn Guinn

2008-07-14T15:30:41-04:00

Hartley McLeod, who played for the Komets from 1954 to 1958, died Monday at the age of 81, his son said. McLeod, who went on to be a linesman in the old International Hockey League for 10 years, founded the...



Former Komet Rob Guinn dies -- updated

2008-07-13T21:18:54-04:00

Rob Guinn, a defenseman with the Fort Wayne Komets from 2004 to 2006, has died according to sources. Guinn, 32, died in a car accident, confirmed Kevin St. Pierre, who was a teammate of Guinn's for two seasons in Fort...



Shafranov, Bertram re-sign

2008-07-07T22:59:50-04:00

Veterans Konstantin Shafranov and Kevin Bertram will return to the Komets. “We are retaining two important players for our defending Turner Cup team with the signing of Shafranov and Bertram,” Komets’ general manager David Franke said in a statement. “Once...



Best of the best

2008-07-05T21:03:00-04:00

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder. Today, I give you the list of the best Komets players of the past nine seasons. (That encompasses all of the Komets...

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder.

Today, I give you the list of the best Komets players of the past nine seasons. (That encompasses all of the Komets time at the AA level of hockey.) No particular criteria here. Some were picked because of skills showed over long periods of time, others over short periods of time. Some were great leaders. Some great agitators.

10) Kevin St. Pierre -- All the guy did was win. Well, except a championship.

9) Frederic Bouchard -- Maybe not reliable defensively, but he was an offensive dynamo from the blue line.

8) Michel Massie -- Great leadership, good agitator, decent scorer, and he gave it his all every shift.

7) Bobby Stewart -- Streaky, but he was an offensive machine.

6) Luciano Aquino -- Almost every shift, he makes an impact.

5) Sean Venedam -- Whether at center or  wing, he was money.

4) Kelly Perrault --  A great scoring defenseman, who didn't get enough credit for his defense.

3) Guy Dupuis -- Summed up in one word: Reliable.

2) Keli Corpse -- Had the ability to take over games on his own.

1) Colin Chaulk -- Longevity, leadership and, most of all, production.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Goodwin, Konstantin Shafranov, Doug Teskey, Brent Gretzky, David-Alexandre Beauregard, Tom Lawson, Nick Boucher, Dustin Virag, Dave Lemay, P.C. Drouin, Justin Hodgman, Mathieu Curadeau, Kevin Schmidt, Jim Logan, Troy Neumeier, Jason Goulet, Kelly Hurd, Bruce Richardson, David Hukalo

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




Chin story

2008-07-05T13:29:12-04:00

Click here to read Steve Warden's story on Roy Chin. And there's some news on Justin Hodgman, the Komets' playoff MVP, in here.



Roy Chin profiled

2008-07-03T16:33:07-04:00

Although the retirement party's been held and Roy Chin has hung up his skates for the last time, there will be a profile of the popular papa of former Komets captain Colin Chin in Friday's Journal Gazette. Roy Chin sat...



Durdin leaving

2008-07-01T12:04:53-04:00

Click here to read Mike Rothstein's story on Sergei Durdin's departure.



Reynolds moves on

2008-06-26T20:41:20-04:00

Komets forward Matt Reynolds is taking his services elsewhere. The Excel Hull Stingrays of the bmibaby Elite League has signed the 27-year-old forward for the upcoming season. Reynolds scored 19 goals and 33 assists during a record-setting regular season and...

Komets forward Matt Reynolds is taking his services elsewhere.  The Excel Hull Stingrays of the bmibaby Elite League has signed the 27-year-old forward for the upcoming season.

Reynolds scored 19 goals and 33 assists during a record-setting regular season and eight points in 13 games on the way to the Turner Cup, and was a solid presence at the offensive end particularly.

-- Ben Smith    




Look at the rivalries

2008-06-25T21:55:00-04:00

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder. Today, I give you the list of the Komets' top rivals from the past nine seasons. (That covers the team's time in...



Some wild and crazy guys

2008-06-21T21:35:00-04:00

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder. Today, I give you the list of the wackiest personalities of the Komets' past nine seasons. (That encompasses all of the Komets'...

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder.

Today, I give you the list of the wackiest personalities of the Komets' past nine seasons.  (That encompasses all of the Komets' time at the AA level of hockey.)

10) Bobby Stewart -- He sure knew how to get the crowd going, playing the game with some flair. And off the ice, he kept things loose.

9) Colin Chaulk -- Believe it or not, he's got some pizazz. He likes to throw expletives into just about any interview, which makes my job difficult but also fun.

8) Mike McKay -- Lots of talent. Lots of goals. Lots of off-ice antics. No one seems to know where he is now either, which is strange.

7) Tommy Bolduc -- One strange cat. And he could barely skate.

6) Mario Larocque -- He had the stylish fauxhawk and was good for some laughs off the ice, even after he scored into his own net during an All-Star Game at the Coliseum. "Hey, a goal is a goal in my book," he quipped.

5) Lance Galbraith -- A motormouth on and off the ice. Fun to cover. A pain to play against.

4) Bruce Richardson -- Ask Richardson about the weather and clear your calendar for at least an hour. He loves to talk, about anything, especially if it's his desire to win a Cup. Good a guy as you'll come across.

3) Frederic Bouchard -- Lots of flair on the ice, he was sometimes too concerned with stats and not enough with winning. He once berated me for pointing out his minus rating instead of his assists. But a darn good player anyway.

2) Pokey Reddick -- Had I been here in early 1990s and witnessed the stories firsthand, he'd surely top the list. But he gets second place for toning down his act. Reddick was very superstitious. And weird instances followed him. We're still not entirely sure what ailment forced him out of the 2002 game that cause equipment manager Joe Franke to make an entrance into the net.

1) Mitch Woods -- I still haven't gotten over the story about Woods' father telling me about Mitch going to a "horse doctor" for treatment after an injury. Even funnier: Mitch keeps telling me, "It wasn't a horse doctor. It was a faith healer." Yep, that changes everything. But he's a riot and heckuva a lot of fun to watch on the ice.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




Coaching stuff

2008-06-20T11:09:50-04:00

Justin Cohn's stunt double here, Ben Smith, filling in while Justin takes a few well-deserved days off ... Anyway, here's what I've got: Although the Atlanta Thrashers are still denying it, Canadian media sources are reporting that former Komet and...

Justin Cohn's stunt double here, Ben Smith, filling in while Justin takes a few well-deserved days off ...

Anyway, here's what I've got:  Although the Atlanta Thrashers are still denying it, Canadian media sources are reporting that former Komet and Chicago Wolves coach John Anderson is about to be hired as the Thrashers new coach.

This is welcome and long overdue news for a guy who, like fellow ex-Komet and NHL coach of the year Bruce Boudreau, has paid some long and profitable dues behind the bench in the minors.  Can't believe a guy with Anderson's resume hasn't gotten a shot before now.

Also, the Bloomington Prairie Thunder has hired 37-year-old Jarrod Skalde as its new head coach. Skalde, who played parts of nine seasons in the NHL in a 17-year playing career, served as player-assistant for Bloomington for the first half of last season.

-- Ben Smith   




Best defensive forwards

2008-06-17T21:15:00-04:00

I'm on vacation right now, but fear not -- I wouldn't leave you without a topic to ponder. Today, I give you the list of the best defensive forwards of the Komets' past nine seasons. (That encompasses all of the...



Congrats to Gabby

2008-06-12T23:09:20-04:00

Congratulations to former Komets player and coach Bruce Boudreau. He won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the Year.



Drouin's back in Fort Wayne -- for good

2008-06-12T19:16:01-04:00

P.C. Drouin has had a home in Fort Wayne for years, so I figured his re-signing with the Komets was because of comfort and convenience. It turns out it's more than that -- he's linking the future of his hockey...



Drouin back

2008-06-12T14:00:55-04:00

P.C. Drouin has re-signed with the Komets. I will have more later today.



A look at the new scoreboard

2008-06-10T14:59:18-04:00

You asked for it, you got it. These are artist renderings of what the new scoreboard at Memorial Coliseum will look like. Download scoreboardrendering.pdf There are some important things to realize about these: 1) The top and bottom rectangles will...



Seems like Drouin's coming back

2008-06-10T00:16:40-04:00

I ran into Colin Chaulk and P.C. Drouin at the Mad Anthonys Charity Classic for Children on Monday. They looked like twins, with their matching black-and-orange golf shirts -- not the best choice for the 90-degree weather, I'd say. Anyway,...



Soon, they'll be replaying Drouin slapshots at the Coliseum

2008-06-06T17:49:03-04:00

This just in from Journal Gazette reporter Amanda Iacone: The Memorial Coliseum scoreboard, complete with walking taco animations, will officially be a thing of the past. A new four-sided video scoreboard will replace the 15-year-old matrix scoreboard this summer. Allen...



Frenchy looking for help

2008-06-06T13:54:39-04:00

Former Komets goaltender Kevin St. Pierre is holding a golf outing benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It will be June 14 at Noble Hawk Golf Links in Kendallville. For those wanting information, call Tim Dykstra at 1-888-GOLF-321. The fee...



IHL interested in adding Youngstown

2008-06-03T20:57:28-04:00

International Hockey League commissioner Paul Pickard told me he is interested in adding the Youngstown (Ohio) SteelHounds to his league's ranks. He will have exploratory talks with the team soon and if the two sides decide to move forward it...



Lucky number 7?

2008-06-03T18:26:11-04:00

So, you may recall, not so long ago I was predicting that the International Hockey League would have seven teams next season, regardless of what the higher-ups or the schedules said. To steal a line from John "Hannibal" Smith, I...



We have a schedule, not much else

2008-06-02T18:35:49-04:00

Finally, the Fort Wayne Komets released their schedule. Click here to see it. Nothing earth-shattering there. Another 76-game schedule. Yes, they're playing on Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. I can't believe a six-team league has an unbalanced schedule against opponents,...



Any day now, a schedule would be nice

2008-05-31T23:11:06-04:00

I know the Komets are still basking in the glory of their Turner Cup championship, but it would be nice if they'd release the schedule the International Hockey League is saying should be available. According to the IHL web site,...

I know the Komets are still basking in the glory of their Turner Cup championship, but it would be nice if they'd release the schedule the International Hockey League is saying should be available.

According to the IHL web site, the Komets will open their 57th season Oct. 17th at Port Huron, Mich. -- that'll be a rematch of the finals -- and play host to the Flint Generals at Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 18th.

For those of you who thought last season was way too long, given that there's only six teams, well, too bad. We're getting another 76-game campaign in 2008-09. For very limited information, click here.

Meanwhile, former Komets enforcer Jeff Worlton has been named coach of the Tri City Icehawks, a junior team based in Midland, Mich.  Click here to read more, including the note that Greg Puhalski apparently played in the NHL without anyone's knowledge. Note to people at all levels of hockey: Not only is Icehawks a weak nickname, it's getting very overused.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




The Wings have a new coach. (No, not those Wings, silly.)

2008-05-29T19:59:34-04:00

The Kalamazoo Wings didn't take too long in their search for a new coach, tabbing Nick Bootland on Thursday. A player with the team for the last four seasons, Bootland seems like a solid choice. "Priding ourselves on the ability...



Can I get a Cup holder with that? Paging Michael, er, Mikael.

2008-05-28T20:18:32-04:00

First, the Komets break the Turner Cup. Now, the Spokane Chiefs do this to the Memorial Cup. OK, when I broke something as a kid, I always thought the key was to act like nothing happened, not stand there stunned....



Maybe the city should have honored K's more

2008-05-21T22:31:29-04:00

Driving into the office today, I heard talk on local radio that longtime WOWO broadcaster Bob Chase was shredding the city for not doing enough to honor the Komets' Turner Cup championship. My initial thought was: Short of a parade...



I'm in the inbox crowd

2008-05-19T15:33:02-04:00

It took a week, but my ears have finally stopped ringing from all the noise at Memorial Coliseum last week. There was some kinda big event going on there. Oh, yeah, that's right -- a Game 7 triple-overtime victory by...

It took a week, but my ears have finally stopped ringing from all the noise at Memorial Coliseum last week. There was some kinda big event going on there. Oh, yeah, that's right -- a Game 7 triple-overtime victory by the Komets.

Anyway, so I spent some time today going through all the e-mails I hadn't had time to answer during the playoffs. Amazing the things you get a kick out of in retrospect.

Some readers were amazed throughout the playoffs at all the negativity being espoused by other readers throughout the season, especially in what was looking like it would be "a magical conclusion." I'm not sure the Komets' Turner Cup victory was magical, but it sure was amazing to watch. Are there still people out there knocking facets of this team? Still not enough enough toughness?

One reader was incensed at my so-called bias against Kevin Reiter. I still can't believe that one. I think Reiter is a tremendous goalie. I praised him many times. I think Nick Boucher is great, too. After Boucher won the last three games of the Komets' finals comeback, does anyone think coach Al Sims was wrong to call him "the best goalie in the league" a few weeks back, even after Reiter won the league's Best Goaltender trophy?

Still, so many readers come at me with the "why aren't the Komets in the AHL" questions? I get it. I really do. Believe me, I'd rather be covering the American Hockey League. But it makes no sense for the Frankes to do it. They're a huge draw in a league that has very little overhead. Why move up, add all the expense (travel, salaries), and lose control of their own roster, when the attendance would only go up marginally if at all? It doesn't make financial sense.

I got lots of notes about the deteriorating fan behavior at the Coliseum. I've noticed it, too. You know what they say: Do unto others as you'd have done unto you.

I got even more notes berating the Komets, the Coliseum and the league for the 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 series formats. I doubt anyone hated it more than me. I had to do all the driving back and forth. I still think it was dumb. But the Komets must have been laughing all the way to the bank, what with the pivotal Game 7, after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit. And the Coliseum must have made a fortune, too, after smartly leaving the concession stands open. Still, here's hoping someone realizes  the wonderfulness of a 2-3-2 format before next April.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




More stories, more pictures, more fun

2008-05-15T08:40:03-04:00

Click here to read a column by yours truly. And click here for coverage of the end-of-season party, with pictures galore.



Auction results

2008-05-14T23:16:56-04:00

Click here to see them.



Look out when the Devils come calling

2008-05-14T21:42:31-04:00

As Justin Hodgman signed all sorts of autographs at the Komets' annual end-of-season party, he divulged he's already received interest from an NHL team: The New Jersey Devils, who would like to see him at a pre-draft combine. I'm sure...



C'mon, K's, make it more interesting next time

2008-05-13T18:16:00-04:00

Whew, I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been run over by a Zamboni. I still can't believe Game 7 of the finals went to triple overtime. I don't care what level of hockey you're talking about,... Whew, I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been run over by a Zamboni. I still can't believe Game 7 of the finals went to triple overtime. I don't care what level of hockey you're talking about, that's excitement. But just when I was thinking this was one of those wonderful sports moments that anyone would appreciate, a co-worker told me she left the building after two overtimes. That's weak. Anyway, the Komets are the Turner Cup champions. As you'll notice in the upcoming coverage, I'm referring to this as the greatest game in Komets history. I've run it by several people who say, there's no question. But if you have any arguments, let's hear about it now. It was the third longest game in franchise history. I know there is a rumor out there that last night was Bob Chase's last game. As he left the press box, he said, "No way." I did stop by the locker room on the way out of the building, to see what they were up to. I'm sure the players wouldn't appreciate me sharing most of their celebratory antics -- what happens in the room, stays in the room, as they say -- but here are some things I don't think they'd mind a fly on the wall sharing. At one point, the players were chanting Nick Boucher's name. Kevin Reiter was clearly happy for him but also told me he wished he'd played better in his last outing. Personally, I don't think he got much help and I told him as much. Some members of management, and their family, were smoking cigars. A lot of the older veterans were low key in their celebrations, choosing to stay in the trainer's room or the private shower area. After more than 100 minutes of play that night, they were gassed. But one of the most jubilant was captain Guy Dupuis, who at age 38 has yet to decide if he'll play next season. He was downright giddy.  There was way more beer in that locker room than champagne. So, it's not exactly like it is in the NHL. Surprisingly, only one player, Mitch Woods, gave me a hard time about writing the Komets were done after going down 3-1 in the series. Refreshing to cover a team that doesn't take it personally if you knock them. Fort Wayne native Brandon Warner just had a glow about him. He grew up dreaming of playing for the Komets. To be in that locker room celebrating a championship, of which he was a key part, was probably more like winning a Stanley Cup for him than anyone else. I did some investigating into the durability of the new Turner Cup, which had the cup part break off when Dupuis hoisted it. Well, that thing was darn heavy, probably about 65 pounds, and the top wasn't fastened together nearl[...]



Komets win Turner Cup, immediately break it

2008-05-13T01:37:24-04:00

Hey, it's not a Cup until it gets some wear and tear on it. The Fort Wayne Komets captured the Turner Cup as champions of the International Hockey League and, upon hoisting it above his head, captain Guy Dupuis snapped...

Hey, it's not a Cup until it gets some wear and tear on it. The Fort Wayne Komets captured the Turner Cup as champions of the International Hockey League and, upon hoisting it above his head, captain Guy Dupuis snapped the cup part right off.

Oops.

But the team was all smiles, all gasps, after a marathon game that took three overtimes to win. The youngest guy on the ice, Justin Hodgman, got the winner. He grabbed a Dupuis shot out of midair, dropped it to the ice and sent it past goaltender Larry Sterling.

It was about the Komets' 20th great chance of overtime. It seemed only a matter of time until they got the best of Sterling, who was phenomenal in this game.

Hodgman was at a loss for words after the game. He was named Playoff MVP by commissioner Paul Pickard. He was the right choice, the only choice. I asked him, as the 10,462 fans chanted his name, if he'd consider forgoing his final year of juniors to come back to Fort Wayne. He wasn't ruling it out.

Frankly, though, he's destined for higher levels.

This was an amazing game. I actually thought regulation was a little boring. It seemed like the Komets had it won, up 2-1 with less than a minute to go. Then a Tab Lardner shot ricocheted off the skates of two Fort Wayne players and went in.

The Komets were downtrodden in the locker room after the third period but, I'm told, were more confident with every passing minute.  Overtime was awesome to watch.

Consider this: After the Komets fell behind 3-1 in the series, they never again trailed in a game. That's what I call a comeback.

Here are postgame interviews:

Nick Boucher: Download boucher_championship.WMA

Justin Hodgman: Download hodgman_championship.WMA

P.C. Drouin: Download drouin_championship.WMA

Guy Dupuis: Download dupuis_championship.WMA

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette




We're going to 3 overtimes.

2008-05-13T00:10:36-04:00

Sorry for my tardiness. As you can imagine, this has been quite hectic. The Komets and Port Huron Icehawks are going to overtime No. 3 in Game 7 of the Turner Cup Finals. We can safely say, now, that this...



Hodgman looks heroic, but Komets' lead is 2-1

2008-05-12T20:57:48-04:00

Someone check if Robbie Laird, the former Komets coach and player, who is now the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, is in the stands. If so, Justin Hodgman may be drafted by the Kings sometime soon....

Someone check if Robbie Laird, the former Komets coach and player, who is now the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, is in the stands. If so, Justin Hodgman may be drafted by the Kings sometime soon.

Hodgman intercepted a pass, went end-to-end and lasered a shot past Larry Sterling for a 1-0 lead in Game 7 of the Turner Cup Finals. There's a great buzz in the building, but a nervous one because the Komets haven't put this one away yet.

Sterling has made some great saves ...

... Ooops, just as  I type that, Guy Dupuis puts one in during a power play, from 40 feet out. Sorry, no way the Icehawks come back from two down. I don't see it ...

... Oops, just as I type that, Jeff Zehr scores for the Icehawks off a rebound.

-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette