As they prepare for the potential roster apocalypse, the Fort Wayne Komets also need to start another winning streak.
The Komets lost their modest two-game streak Wednesday night when they fell at Evansville 4-1. With a win Fort Wayne could have tied Toledo for second place in the ECHL's North Division, two points behind Cincinnati. Toledo lost to Florida 4-1, and Cincinnati beat Orlando 4-0 Wednesday night.
J.M. Rizk scored the only goal for the Komets, who trailed 1-0 heading into the third period.
There was plenty of action off the ice as well. The Komets lost center and ECHL Player of the Week Corey Elkins on a recall to Norfolk of the American Hockey League, and then Fort Wayne General Manager said on a radio interview that Elkins is leaving for Helsinki, Finland.
The Komets also placed forward Thomas Beauregard on the 21-day injured reserve list with an upper body injury and activated forward Matt Kennedy after he recovered from a groin injury. Defenseman Brent Henley was able to return to the lineup as his new knee brace arrived.
Still, because forward Garrett Klotz was ill, the Komets skated one player short. Rookie Dan Nycholat played forward instead of his usual defenseman position and attempted three shots on goal.
Fort Wayne also started calling up players from the Class A Federal Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League to prepare in case Norfolk or other AHL teams raid the Komets' roster to fill in when National Hockey League training camps open Sunday.
Wednesday afternoon, the NHL owners unanimously approved the recent collective bargaining agreement that ended the recent lockout. The players association must vote on the deal Friday and Saturday.
The Komets have recalled forward Brayden Metz and defenseman Peter Cintala from Dayton of the FHL, and defenseman Jeremy Gates and forwards John Dunbar and Ron Cramer from Pensacola of the SPHL. Cramer won't arrive until Saturday as Pensacola has a game at Louisiana for the SPHL lead on Friday. Both Gates and Metz have played one game with the Komets already this season, and Gates, Metz and Dunbar were part of the Komets' training camp.
Metz has 20 goals and 59 points in 29 games, and Cintala has five goals and 18 points in 31 games for Dayton. Gates has three goals and 11 points in 26 games, Dunbar has 10 goals and 22 points in 26 games, and Kramer has four goals and nine points in 15 games for Pensacola, which is coached by former Komets assistant Gary Graham, who has the IceFlyers in first place.
``If they follow their guidelines of starting the season the following Friday or Saturday, I think we will lose a guy or two, but I don't think it's going to be a mass exodus,'' Franke said in an interview with WOWO's Bob Chase. ``I think with this deal the number of players they want to take into camp has changed now.''
With only a week for training camp and one exhibition game, it's likely NHL teams will want to keep their roster small. No NHL or AHL team management members are willing to talk publicly about potential roster moves until after the contract is ratified.
``I think there will be more information tomorrow, and as we move into the weekend we'll be able to talk some more,'' Franke said. ``We're just going to have to do the best we can to plug holes when we have to.''
This could be critical for the Komets, who start a three-game series against the first-place Cyclones on Friday in Cincinnati before coming home to host Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday.