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Dupuis stripped of captaincy

Drouin no longer an assistant; Schrock keeps 'A'

For the first time since 2006, Guy Dupuis is no longer the captain of the Komets.

With their team 5-13-1 and mired in last place in the 18-team Central Hockey League, coach Al Sims, general manager David Franke and team president Michael Franke decided to shake things up Tuesday by stripping the 40-year-old defenseman of his captaincy.

They also took one of the alternate captaincies away from left wing P.C. Drouin.

"We need to change the culture in the locker room," Sims said. "That's basically what we're trying to do is shake the team up, try something different, change something."

The Komets won the last three championships of the IHL, but they've lost five in a row and are 10 points back of the 16th and final playoff spot with 47 games remaining.

"Both players are classy individuals and the types of guys who said, 'If this helps the team, I'm on board for it,'" Sims said.

Second-year forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock will remain an alternate captain, Sims said, while center Leo Thomas will become an interim alternate.

"The second 'A' will move around the locker room," Sims said. "Leo is going to start with it for now. As far as the captaincy goes, we'll take our time."

The Komets face the Quad City Mallards on Friday at Moline, Ill., before playing host to the Dayton Gems at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

Dupuis, who is in his 14th season with the Komets dating back to 1991-92, has one goal, six points and a minus-5 rating in 19 games. Drouin, who is in his sixth season with Fort Wayne, has two goals, 10 points and a minus-5 rating in 19 games.

"I guess the bottom line is that we have to win more games and I'm happy management is doing their best to try to make changes," Dupuis said. "Is it trading guys? Whatever it is, they're trying to make changes to get us more victories. They thought this was one of the changes that might change our team and what's going on. We'll see.

"Will it make a big difference? Maybe. Maybe not. But at least they're trying to get us in the right direction. If we win more games from this, hey, that's great. At the end of the (season), we want to be in the playoffs."

Dupuis said he tried his best to right the Komets' woes and that he didn't have any regrets about his leadership efforts.

"I take pride in every game, do my best and put my best foot forward, my best effort in every game," he said. "I've done that this year and all the other years I was a Komet. I have no regrets there. At times this year, I've said my piece and what I thought we needed to do to get better in team meetings. We all said our pieces, P.C., myself and other guys. It didn't change much so far, but I don't think there was more I'd do different except get my game going offensively."

Note: The Komets have brought in rookie Artem Podshendyalov for a tryout. He had 62 goals and 124 points in 42 games last season with the Bradford Rattlers of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League. He is a 21-year-old, 5-foot-10 forward from Russia.

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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