Monday began Al Sims’ ninth training camp as Komets coach. And although 29 players seemed like a lot, Sims has had a bigger selection of players to evaluate.
I think we did have a much bigger camp in the early 1990s. We had 40 to 50 guys here my first camp (in 1989), said Sims, who led the Komets to IHL championships in 1993, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
It was just a mass of humanity, and trying to figure out who would stay and who would go was tough, since we had just about seven days.
This will be the Komets’ second season in the CHL, after they went 31-27-8 and were eliminated by Rapid City in the Turner Conference Semifinals.
The Komets were in last place among the CHL’s 18 teams until February last season, and no one wants a repeat of that, especially since the league is down to 14 teams and only eight will make the postseason.
We’re not coming here not to make the playoffs, center Leo Thomas said. We need to have a better start than we did last year, obviously. Hopefully, by February we’re in the top three or something like that. That would be good.
About 20 players will make the roster when the regular season begins Oct. 22 against the visiting Evansville IceMen.
Smith wants center
The Komets’ biggest offseason acquisition was Brett Smith, who had 20 goals and 55 points in 60 games last season while captaining Bossier-Shreveport to the CHL championship.
The Mudbugs folded two weeks later.
The Komets have a glut of centers, though, including Colin Chaulk, Thomas and Danny Lapointe.
Smith said he’s had success playing wing before, but I’m a natural center. I like being down low. And I’m fairly consistent on faceoffs. I would expect to be in the middle.
Lapointe would be the most likely player to move to wing, but Thomas has experience there, too.
And Smith isn’t the only former Mudbug; defenseman Jamie Milam played there last season, too.
aPod not here
The only person who hasn’t shown up at camp was forward Artem Podshendyalov, who had nine goals and 25 points in 40 games with the Komets last season. He is working out issues with his immigration papers and is expected to join the Komets in about five days.