Komets forward Thomas Beauregard has always been known for his offense, so much so that he's gotten the knock of being a lousy defensive player.
Except that hasn't been any problem for the Komets. In fact, Beauregard has been playing very solid defense since signing with the Komets 22 games ago, and he still leads the team with 11 goals.
``I just want to change my game a little and improve,'' Beauregard said. ``I'm an offensive player, but I want to improve my defensive game. I think it's time. I got a lot of criticism in the past year about not playing defense, but I just want to be good defensively. If you are better defensively you are going to have a lot more offensive chances.''
During his career, Beauregard has rarely been on the positive side of the plus-minus rating, but he's making more of an effort this season. He's never going to be a strong enough defensive player to shadow an opposing forward, but he can play good enough defense to break up passes in the neutral zone.
``Sometimes I know I can read the play and pick it off,'' he said. ``I try to read their mind, and that's why I break up so many plays. Maybe sometimes it won't work and I'm going to be in trouble, but I'll take my chances.''
Beauregard is only even in plus-minus so far with the Komets, but even that's impressive when considering that a large percentage of his points have usually come from the power play. This year, 12 of his 13 points have come at even strength.
``I'm still trying,'' Beauregard said. ``It's not perfect yet, but I'm still improving. It's a good thing.''
If the skate fits...
After passing for three assists Friday at Kalamazoo, Komets defenseman Brent Henley joked, ``That beats some of my yearly totals.''
Henley has always been known more for his fists than his wrists, but he gave all the credit for his good night to his teammates.
``That had nothing to do with me,'' Henley said. ``That was our forwards tracking pucks and getting it up the ice. We won and that's all that matters to me.''
The real reason Henley felt so confident was that he finally got his new skates. His old skates were falling apart, and because he's so large, his need to be custom-made. His old skates were so broken down, it was comparable to trying to play with the laces untied.
``Defensively, finding shooting lanes, when I moved the puck and when I went into the corner, everything was light-years better because I have proper gear,'' Henley said. ``I couldn't cross-over and I couldn't stride. I was getting caught from behind, and I was getting beat and it was only because of my skates. Now I'm good.''
Forward Luca Caputi and Ryan Lasch have been recalled to Norfolk of the American Hockey League, and newly signed defenseman Tim Priamo has been placed on reserve by the Komets.
ECHL TV is on
The ECHL started the TV show "ECHL Week," a 30-minute program on the league that is available on YouTube. Komets broadcaster Bob Chase recently recorded an interview for the program that is supposed to air soon. The first show featured Colorado Eagles teammates and league scoring leaders Chad Costello and Jack Combs. New shows start Jan. 5.
Icing the puck
Beauregard has six goals in seven games against Kalamazoo. ... The Komets are 5-4-1 so far in December and are in danger of experiencing a losing month for just the eighth time over the last 56 months. ... Tonight, the Komets start a stretch of playing 15 games in 24 days, including nine at home. It's their busiest stretch of the season. ... The Komets are now 3-6 at home on Fridays and Saturdays. ... Fort Wayne is 5-8-1 following a win and 9-3-1 following a loss. ... The last five years under Al Sims, the Komets usually start well after Christmas, going 6-4, 5-1-4, 7-2-1, 4-2-3 and 8-2 in their first 10 games after the break. ... The Komets are 37-13-5 all-time at home on New Year's Eve and have drawn more than 10,000 fans eight of the last 11 years. They have gone 9-0-1 in their last 10 New Year's Eve games.