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  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski readies to fire the puck on goal at Memorial Coliseum. He returned to the team officially Monday. 

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski, the ECHL's MVP last season, will rejoin the Komets, sources have told The Journal Gazette

Monday, November 05, 2018 1:00 pm

Szydlowski has 'very comfortable feeling' with K's

Star forward's return now official; minor trade made

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Shawn Szydlowski, the ECHL's MVP and leading scorer last season, is officially back with the Komets. He was on the ice for practice this morning as they prepared to take off for Rapid City, South Dakota, to face the Rapid City Rush on Wednesday.

"I think everyone’s happy to have me back," he said. "It’s a very comfortable feeling. Everyone knows I love being here. Everyone knows how bad I want to win. Everyone knows the attitude I have. Everyone who stays here, they know the mindset we’ve had in the locker room and we just want to keep it going."

So, for a 3-5-0 team, can one player make that big of a difference? Personally, I would never put that much on one player, but we have seen this script before with the likes of Colin Chaulk and P.C. Drouin coming back from Europe, so it's not unreasonable to expect the return of Szydlowski having a huge impact.

To his credit, Szydlowski kind of downplayed things, saying: "I think even before I came back – the team was 1-5 before I made the decision – I was just looking through the lineup and knew the type of character that was in the locker room. I knew the team just wasn’t playing at the level it could be yet and I wasn’t too worried. If I can come back and help, that’s my plan, but even before I came back I was confident they would turn this thing around."

It sound as if Szydlowski could end up on a line with captain Jamie Schaafsma and Garrett Ladd.

Schaafsma was one of Szydlowski's first calls when he was considering returning from Norway, where he had been playing for Frisk Asker alongside Garrett Thompson. Szydlowski's reasons for coming back were a mix of personal and not quite loving the style of playing in Europe, not surprising for player who likes to mix it up.

"It was a lot of things, a lot of personal decisions. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it," he said. "I had some unfinished stuff and wasn’t 100 percent committed over there and didn’t want to take somebody else’s job or be a detriment to the team if my heart wasn’t totally into it. Once I realized that it, it was an easy decision to come back."

There had been concern from the Komets' front after last season about Szydlowski's back injury, something that had dogged him throughout last season, as brilliant as it was as the team reached Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. Asked about his back today, Szydlowski said: "The back’s been good. To be honest, it hasn’t been a problem at all this year, which has been great for me. Throughout the beginnings of the year, it’s usually been tough for me, sore getting back into skating, but I’ve been playing hockey for three months already and it hasn’t been a problem."

One other thing: A couple of sources have told me the Komets have traded Thomas Ebbing to Greenville for future considerations and that will be announced later today. Ebbing was scoreless in six games.

jcohn@jg.net