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Ice Chips

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    When American Hockey League training camps opened today, there were lots of players under contract to play for the Komets this season who took part.
  • Bachman in Prospects Game
    The USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, in which Karch Bachman of Walcottville, is playing will be on NHL a network at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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How the K's can improve

The Komets are 5-10-1, last place in the 18-team Central Hockey League.

And they're already seven points back of the pack, though they've played the fewest games in the league.

There are 50 games remaining, by the way.

The following is my plan for how the Komets can improve:

1) Buckle down in the third period. That's what's foiled them of late, as they've been outscored 6-1 in the third periods of their last three games.

2) Someone needs to step up and become the leader of this team. Things have certainly improved in this department the last two weeks, but it seems as if there still isn't that one guy who can command the respect of the locker room by saying something and then going out and doing it, getting the others to follow along the way.

3) Acquire a power forward. Yes, the Komets miss Matt Syroczynski. They need someone to dictate the action in the corners and, more than anything, wreak havoc in front of the net. Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock has been going to the net and making things happen, but he doesn't have the bulk I'm talking about here.

4) Keep up the aggressiveness. They started using more aggressive systems a couple weeks ago, and it's put other teams on their heels. But the Komets cannot let down. They have the skill to do this, if they want.

5) Shoot the puck. No more of these passes across the zone, over the sticks of three opposing players to set up a one-timer. It's not working. Shoot the puck if it's there. (However, some closer-range shots would help, too.)

6) Stop with the bad penalties. If you have a lead, or if it's the last few seconds of the period, it's probably not the time to get called for cross-checking.

7) Play no favorites with the ice time. If the rookies are the players getting it done, play them. If the fifth and sixth defensemen are getting beat less, use them more. The established guys have had long enough to get into gear; the Komets just need to win games.

8) Find another defenseman. Steven Delisle, who has a shoulder injury, was using his size and reach to make the easy plays. He's going to be missed. The Komets need to find someone else in his mold.

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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