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A little of this, a smidgen of that

Hey, everybody. It's Ben Smith, Justin Cohn's stunt double, filling in for a few weeks while Justin recovers from surgery. I hope I don't blow any stunts or screw up my lines.

Anyway ... a few items of interest as the Komets gear up for a three-game week against three teams they ought to beat, Quad City, Dayton and Flint:

* Much hilarity and general smack-talking ensued Monday between the seven Americans and 13 Canadians on the Komets after the Americans' 5-3 win over Canada in Vancouver. The abridged version: The Canadians said it didn't matter because the tournament is actually just beginning, with medal play this week; the Americans chirped away anyway.

Best moment: Sean O'Connor showing up at practice wearing a USA jersey.

Second-best moment: The scrimmage pitting the American Komets vs. the Canadian Komets. Again, the Americans won.

* Speaking of the Olympics, I caught a couple of Komets off-guard with a question about what impact the NHL pulling out of the Games might have. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has strongly hinted this might be the last Olympiad for the NHL.

"Oh, yeah? I didn't know that," Colin Chaulk said.

Didn't take long for the wheels to start turning, however.

"I think if they went the route where they didn't go with the NHL guys, I think they'd go amateur like almost the way they went in 1980," forward Matt Syroczynski said. "You might see college kids, or junior kids, but then again you've got the world juniors for a lot of junior guys ... I don't know."

Neither does Chaulk.

"Gosh, I guess, I don't know, when you start thinking about it ... They've got to find the players somewhere," he said. "If it's guys from the American League, they can't go, because they're under NHL contracts. East Coast guys, a lot of them are under NHL contracts ...

"I don't know, maybe a lot of guys from Europe if their teams will release them to go. I guess the next step is looking at us guys."

* Tim Haun continues to emerge as a goaltending gem-in-the-rough for the Komets. Brought in last season merely as a last resort, he became the first resort again last week when Nick Boucher got off to a rough start in a loss at home to Port Huron. Haun beat Dayton the next night, his third straight victory.

He's now 19-9 and leads all goalies in the IHL with a 2.21 goals-against and 1,822 minutes -- not bad for a guy Port Huron goalie Larry Sterling said wasn't equipped to play at this level.

* As Haun goes, so goes rookie defenseman Frankie DeAngelis. DeAngelis, who has eight goals and 26 points, leads all defensemen in the IHL with three game-winning goals, two short-handed goals and a plus-minus of plus-18.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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