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Franke peeved about hits

And Bennefield left off playoff roster

Komets general manager David Franke isn't necessarily peeved about the three-game suspension to Brent Henley, who got 25 minutes in penalties for his actions in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Dayton.

But he is angered that the CHL doesn't seem to be protecting Fort Wayne's players.

"The main thing is they made their ruling. There's not reason to be all upset (with the Henley suspension)," Franke said.

"But I'm not happy with the fact that I've had three players get hit in the head and suffer concussions -- Chris Auger, Brett Smith and T.J. Miller -- and ... in total there was a one-game suspension served by somebody from those hits. That's what bothers me. We have players who get concussed and there are no penalties, or maybe a minor penalty, no suspensions, and then our players are out of the lineup for a couple of weeks."

Evansville's Karl Linden got the one-game suspension for his hit on Auger, while Bloomington's Ryan Palmer got a pass for his hit on Smith and Dayton's Brett Lutes for his hit on Miller on Saturday.

Later in that game, Henley was cross-checked in the face by Lutes. Henley then punched Damien Surma and pummeled Lutes, kneeing him on the ice and allegedly spitting on him, an act Henley denied having done.

Henley has served one game of the suspension but will miss the first two games of the Turner Conference semifinals with Rapid City, which begin Friday in South Dakota.

The Komets will have to play one man short of a full lineup because of the suspension. They believe defenseman Bryant Molle will be back from his shoulder injury for Games 1 and 2, and Miller could play in Game 3.

As for leaving Jesse Bennefield off the playoff roster, in favor of Tom Mele, Franke said: "We had to get down to 19 players and we wanted to keep all of our defensemen, after we got them all checked out with the doctors today. It's tough finding defensemen. And at the end of the day, we just didn't have a spot for Bennefield. It's unfortunate. We had counted on a lot of offense from Jesse and it just didn't happen. We just decided at the end of the day to part right now. He's a good guy. It just didn't fit with him this year."

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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