Any good forward line has a good center, and Komets coach Al Sims has four good ones.
Colin Chaulk, Leo Thomas, Mathieu Curadeau and Danny Lapointe have led the Komets to eight victories in their last 10 games, though they lost 3-1 at Bloomington, Ill., on Wednesday night.
Usually, teams that are strong down the middle are very difficult to beat, said Sims, whose Komets (21-20-5) play host to the Dayton Gems (22-19-4) today at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets lost 18 of their first 27 games before they signed Chaulk (Jan. 7) and Lapointe (Jan. 14), both of whom began the season in Europe.
We were very weak down the middle at the start of the year and now we’re one of the strongest teams in the league down the middle, Sims said.
The four centers have combined for 29 goals, 73 points and a plus-7 rating over 107 games played.
Over the last 10 games, they have nine goals, 23 points and a combined plus-13 rating, despite Thomas missing six games with a sprained ankle.
All are capable on faceoffs and known for being strong in both the offensive and defensive zones, a necessity for a good center because he has to cover more ice than anyone.
Late in games, Sims likes having two centers on the ice in case one gets thrown out of a faceoff.
Curadeau and Thomas both have significant experience playing wing – Curadeau the left side, Thomas the right – so they give Sims options.
We’re just trying to get the 10 best (forwards) on the ice that we need, and the six best defensemen, said Sims, who waived forward Neil Musselwhite, a part-time center, after he had six goals, 12 points and a minus-7 rating in 26 games.