RAPID CITY, S.D. -- I wish I had some really profound Xs and Os things to say about the Komets' 6-1 loss to the Rapid City Rush.
OK, I will in a second.
But, really, what was really at work tonight? They ran out of steam. They didn't seem like they were there, mentally or physically, at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
After playing probably more playoff games than any minor-league team over the last four years, winning three championships along the way, that was understandable.
So their season is over, a 3-2 series loss in the Turner Conference semifinals completed.
We all knew the Komets had to come out hard and fast. They didn't quite do that, but when you give up a goal 1:01 into the game it doesn't help.
For the most part, they may have actually outplayed the Rush. The shots were 43-31 in favor of Fort Wayne. But they passed on a lot of good chances, didn't make crisp passes, didn't face pressure well a lot of the time and left men unattended, as they had in the first two games -- both losses -- in this building.
The Rush played as close to a perfect game as you can. And the Rush got all the bounces. But that's what great teams do.
Goaltender Kevin Reiter will take a little heat for this game. He should after stopping 8 of 13 shots. But the guy was awesome in the series, and it was a lot to ask for three straight games of greatness.
But here's the biggest point: Do you come away from this game thinking any single player had a great performance? I don't. And I don't think any single player would disagree.
So what happens now? I'm more apt today to think that a lot of players will be asked back, but mass changes are coming. Decisions must be made about the older players -- Guy Dupuis, P.C. Drouin, Leo Thomas, etc. -- who don't necessarily fit the mold of the league. Some players like Mathieu Curadeau, Sean O'Connor and Derek Patrosso, performed well below expectations. Some players, like Dustin Molle, Nick Boucher, Reiter and Craig Cescon, were inconsistent.
There really are only a few guys that are absolute, slam-dunk, bring-back players: Colin Chaulk, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Frankie DeAngelis. Maybe throw Tab Lardner and Artem Podshendyalov in there, too.
Thoughts? Let's hear them.