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K's evaluating trade-deadline options

And Henley will get a suspension for Saturday's actions

There's less than a week until the CHL's trade deadline – it comes Monday – and the Komets are evaluating the need for changes.

"Are we actively looking to make a change? No," general manager David Franke said. "But that could certainly change as the week progresses."

Franke believes the Komets have the talent to win a championship in their second CHL season – they lost in the Turner Conference semifinals last year – but the team needs to better prove its desire.

The Komets have lost seven of their last 12 games and fallen two points behind Evansville for the lead in the Turner Conference, with 26 games remaining.

"The biggest thing is we've got to get more consistent and positive play," Franke said, "like we had a month to a month and a half ago," when the team won 14 of 17 games.

In terms of their lineup, the Komets (25-13-2) have been incredibly stable this season. The only players gone from the opening-night roster are goaltender Kevin Beech and defenseman Tristin Llewellyn, while the additions have been goalies Gerry Festa and Alex Kangas, who is on injured reserve with a hip injury and may not return this season.

"Right now, we're going to reflect on where we're at," Franke said. "We're open to doing some things. But are we in a serious situation? I don't feel that."

Fort Wayne is coming off a 6-3 loss Saturday at Prescott Valley, Ariz., to the Arizona Sundogs (13-22-7), who are at the bottom of the Berry Conference.

The Komets play the Quad City Mallards (23-17-1) on Friday at Moline, Ill.

After the trade deadline, the Komets have until Feb. 13 to sign players who began the season in Europe. Those players include popular former Komets such as Justin Hodgman and Luciano Aquino, whom Franke said it's unlikely they will sign because of the amount of money it would take to persuade them to return to Fort Wayne.

The Komets are also bracing for a suspension to defenseman Brent Henley, who got 27 minutes in penalties Saturday for instigating a fight in the waning seconds with Arizona's Jean-Philipp Chabot. Because it took place in the final five minutes, Henley will get at least one game from the league, Franke said.

Defenseman Dustin Molle, who has a groin injury, will probably sit for the next two weeks.

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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