Here's what former Komets captain Colin Chaulk had to say after the Kalamazoo Wings, for whom he's now an assistant coach, defeated Fort Wayne 3-2 in overtime tonight.
It was his first game back at the Coliseum. (Click here to see photos from the game.)
"For sure, it was weird. But it was nice that we had already played them three times in Kalamazoo. The first regular-season game in Kalamazoo, my heart was pumping and I wanted to throw the gear on and get out there. But I always remind myself, that's probably not a good idea," said Chaulk, adding that the Komets' equipment managers had left him a pregame care package in the visitors' locker room.
"They had a package ready for me, like hot coffee, gum, and all the nice little things I like. (Massage therapist) Steve Grogg put a nice little protein bar for me. They took good care of me. … They were having fun with me being a coach, giving me the chewing gum, the ice cup, the water bottle and the nametag."
Worse than the loss for the Komets was that they may be without goaltender Andrey Makarov for awhile; he experienced concussion-like symptoms after a Wings player crashed into him 12 seconds into the third period.
Makarov, playing for the seventh time in eight games, stopped 21 of 22 shots.
In relief, Ben Meisner stopped 14 of 16, allowing the game-tying goal to defenseman Dustin Cloutier at the end of an odd-man rush at 10:22 and the overtime winner to Matt Caria on a shot from the left circle at 3:32.
It should be noted that the Komets had several chances in regulation and overtime to win the game, but they couldn't take advantage of them. (See the video above.)
Here's what coach Gary Graham said, when asked if he wanted to see his players react differently when Makarov was run into: "It's a 2-1 game, a tight-checking game. Guys got in there, but at the end of the day, it's not like you're going to start a melee. The guy who went in there (and hit Makarov), he's not a dirty player. It was Justin Taylor. It's unfortunate."
I didn't see the play on which Makarov got hurt very well, but the Komets believe Taylor lost an edge before crashing into the goalie.
"We felt like that was a game we had to have," Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. "That's a team we play three times in the next four games, and we wanted to get the first one. So it stings a little bit more. At the same time, we picked up a point in four consecutive games and that's the positive."