To continue on the subject of the Toledo Blade column, espousing Toledo Walleye president and CEO Joe Napoli’s distaste for the style of ECHL playoff hockey, I thought it fair to get the viewpoint of the Komets because they were alluded to in the column by David Briggs.
Again, the link to the column is here: www.bcsn.tv/news_article/show/796962.
The Komets lost to the Walleye in the second round, before the Colorado Eagles defeated Toledo in the Western Conference finals.
Here is what Komets president Michael Franke said, and you’re going to want to read it:
“I was shocked by his comments. Anybody that is involved in the sport of professional hockey knows that playoff hockey ratchets up a couple notches every year during the playoffs. It starts with the players’ beards. It’s always been that way. It’s a great style of hockey. The NHL playoffs have had classic games this year. The bottom line is this is playoff hockey and it’s always been this way. I don’t understand where any change came into play.
“For a (Toledo) organization to want a kindler, gentler sport when they allow their fans to disrespect the National Anthem every game (by yelling) ‘Hit Somebody,’ it just makes no sense and is not in theory the way the organization actually operates. They have been responsible for two of the most serious hockey hits and injuries in the ECHL the last two years, hits inflicted by their players. I think I’m at a loss for the comments. When the fans yell ‘Hit Somebody,’ I have a feeling a lot of the fans in Toledo are definitely not into what is being described in that article.”
The two hits Franke is referencing are A.J. Jenks’ knee-to-knee hit on Shawn Szydlowski and Cody Lampl’s hit to the neck of Tristin Llewellyn.
In fairness, Toledo was victim to the ugly scene in the first round this year, when Kalamazoo’s Ben Wilson repeatedly cross-checked Simon Denis.
“The Ben Wilson situation against Toledo was unforgivable but at the end of the day the league handled the situation (with an indefinite suspension). I thought their way of handling the situation was fantastic. The guy never saw the ice again nor should he have. It’s not like that situation was swept under the rug,” Franke said.