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K's arrive in South Dakota

No word yet on CHL discipline

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- The Komets have arrived in South Dakota safely.

There's still no word on whether there will be any discipline for players from either the Komets or Rapid City Rush for actions in Game 5, a 4-1 victory by the Rush.

I have noticed a lot of people writing on various message boards and blogs that the Komets' fans are whining too much and that they will probably do the same if/when the team is in the ECHL.

I'm going to defend the fans here for a moment. I don't think most of them are angry about the suspensions for Fort Wayne players. It's the lack of consistency. Jeff Kyrzakos' gruesome Game 1 hit got nothing and the sting of that still lingers, as Brett Smith will miss Game 6 because of it. Meanwhile, the CHL didn't hesitate to come down on Brent Henley for a hit that some would argue was clean.

It's been like this for the entirety of the Komets' two seasons in the CHL. Even the IHL had more consistency. But when you see Chris Auger, Smith and T.J. Miller take brutal hits that result in suspensions totaling one game, while the Komets are up to 11 games in suspension for acts that really weren't as gruesome, you have to wonder about the consistency.

So when people say they are looking forward to ECHL officiating, it's not that they think it's some panacea in which Komets won't get suspended. It's because they are hopeful that in a league that is the proving ground for NHL players and -- this is important -- NHL officials, that there will be more consistency in penalties and suspensions.

It may not happen, but that's the fans' hopes and I agree with them. I'm pretty amazed that the Komets haven't sustained a more serious injury from the hits that have been laid on them. Would anyone be surprised if Les Reaney doesn't get suspended from Game 6 and takes a guy's head off? He's the kind of guy you'd love to have on your team, but he's so close to being out of control at all times.

And, to be frank, I don't recall too many hits that Fort Wayne has doled out this season that have been egregious.

I know, I know, I sound like a homer. But that's how I feel.

Moving on, with Smith not playing Tuesday night, who do you think should be in the lineup? Clearly, Tom Mele will be back in at forward. But on defense, since Henley will be back on the ice, the Komets are going to have to decide whether they want to play David Starenky or Daniel Maggio. I think Maggio has been terrific, with the exception of one bad turnover, but I would go with Starenky.

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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