The Komets were irate when they found out that the Rapid City Rushs Ryan Menei was in the lineup Friday for Game 4 of the Turner Conference semifinals, going so far as to accuse the Rush of falsifying medical documents and the league of stacking things against Fort Wayne.
I think this is a travesty, Fort Wayne general manager David Franke said before his team played the Rush at Memorial Coliseum. Their player was hurt, and they squealed to the league that he would be out a long period of time. They cried to the league office, and the league office bought it.
Menei had a hat trick in the Rushs 5-2 victory in Game 1 last Friday. But the forward was knocked out of the Rushs 4-3 victory in Game 2 last Saturday, on a blindside hit by Sean OConnor. No penalty was called on that play, which gave Menei a concussion.
Later in Game 2, OConnor was boarded from behind by Les Reaney, who received a major penalty but only a fine from the league.
OConnor was suspended three games, and the Komets were forced to play one man short of a full lineup the remainder of the series.
Their coach (Joe Ferras), hes a big mouth, a whiner and a complainer, Franke said. And hes a liar. Obviously, the medical records were falsified. The standard procedure for the Komets and the league is that if a player has concussion-like symptoms, he cannot play for a minimum of seven days.
In determining its punishment for OConnor, the CHL said it was awaiting medical records to make a decision, implying the length of suspension was on the belief Menei would be out for at least Games 3 and Game 4.
We dont have a say. With the (Professional Hockey Players Association), the union, you dont have any say when a guy comes back, Ferras said. Thats all done under medical and the doctors. If he gets cleared, and gets his baseline (testing) done, weve got nothing to do with anything. If he sees the doctors, and they let him play, then thats it. (Komets coach) Al Sims and I would like every player to play, but weve got no say.
Menei flew to Fort Wayne on Thursday and told InsideDakotaSports.com he was feeling awesome.
Something really stinks about this, said Franke. Were infuriated.
... The league needs to review its hockey operations department. This was wrong, and I have a long memory. I wont forget this. We will address it this summer. We have to beat Rapid City and the league in this series? The league was intimidated, and clearly its ruling was based on medical information that was falsified.
The CHL had no immediate comment on Meneis return, other than to say OConnors suspension stood.