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at Cincinnati
When: 7:35 p.m. Tuesday
Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM
File | The Journal Gazette

Tough call on veterans awaits K’s

– There is a decision on the horizon for the Komets.

Last week, the Komets re-signed hard-shooting defenseman Jamie Milam, who had two previous stints with the team, including one last season when they won the CHL championship.

He is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday at Cincinnati, but it will really get interesting when captain Colin Chaulk gets his jersey back on.

That’s because the Komets will have five players of veteran status – Chaulk, Milam, center Brett Smith, defenseman Tyler Butler and defenseman Brent Henley – and they can only play four in games.

While the Komets have given no indication what they will do when, or if, they have five healthy veterans, there is the possibility one will be traded. The Komets have until the March 7 trade deadline to deal a veteran, should they opt not to juggle the veterans in and out of the lineup.

But first, they must see what they have with Chaulk, who has led the Komets to five championships in three difference leagues since 2003.

He has two goals and 17 points in 19 games this season but hasn’t played since Dec. 7 because of a shoulder injury and then a foot infection. He has missed 31 straight games, and the infection was so bad that he was hospitalized.

“I’m planning on returning to full practice this week,” Chaulk said. “I think I need two weeks of full practice and then I see the doctor on Feb. 18. I hope to get cleared (to play) sometime around then.”

After dropping 2 of 3 games in Loveland, Colo., to the Colorado Eagles last week, the Komets are 26-22-2 heading into the game at North Division-leading Cincinnati (27-16-6).

At issue continues to be the Komets’ consistency.

In Wednesday’s 2-1 loss, the offense was the problem. In a 6-5 victory on Friday, the defense was poor. And Saturday, the all-too-familiar slow start was there again, as the Komets gave up the first five goals in a 6-1 loss.

“We’ve always got to have the urgency right off the bat and make sure we have three solid periods,” coach Al Sims said.