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A few thoughts on the Cup

Vaskivuo

And now a few stray thoughts on the Komets' latest acquisition, the CHL's President's Cup:

* So what does four titles in five years in two different leagues say?

It says this is, as Brent Henley called it last night, "the best organization in minor league hockey." Not much more you need to add.

* Mike Vaskivuo, the late-season pickup from Rapid City, richly deserved his MVP trophy. And not just because of his 10 goals and 24 points in the playoffs.

Not only did he provide the signature moment of the Komets' playoff run -- the scoring play in Game 3 of the finals when he dipsy-doodled his defender into a coma, then dropped the puck to Colin Chaulk, who smoked it over Wichita goalie Bryan Hogan's shoulder -- he was the signature component of what won the Cup for the Komets.

That was this team's astounding ability to control the puck in the offensive zone, wearing down their opponents and stealing their legs. No one was more effective at doing that than Vaskivuo, whose ability to play keepaway with the puck at times jumped sports and reminded you of Marques Haynes, the old Globetrotter, playing keepaway with his dribble.

* You know who might have been most clearly overjoyed by this title?

Head coach Al Sims.

Two years ago he barely cracked a smile when the Komets won their third straight Turner Cup in the (God rest its soul) IHL, but last night you couldn't wipe the smile off his face with dynamite. He'd never let on that he hears what people say, but he hears what people say, and what some people in some quarters have said is that, yeah, he could win in the IHL, but .....

Well. Last night, stepping out of character a bit, he couldn't resist a comeback to that sentiment.

"People said I couldn't (win) in this league," he said. "I guess they're just naysayers now."

* You're always leery about pronouncing anything the best ever, but sometimes no other phraseology fits.

Case in point: Colin Chaulk, Best Team Captain ever.

No one's ever been better, in the Blob's experience at least, at sensing the temperature of a locker room and knowing how to regulate it. When he pushes a button, it's invariably the right button at the right time. Always.

"Colin Chaulk is the best leader I've ever played with," said defenseman Jamie Lovell, who watched Chaulk work his magic from the other side of the fence when he was with Port Huron. "I've played with some pretty good captains the last seven or eight years, but he knows how to settle things down. There's a reason why he's won four championships -- or six or seven or however many he's won here."

For the record, it's five now. Five in a decade.

Ben Smith's blog.

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