Every day of late, Komets General Manager David Franke goes to practice in the morning and then comes into the office to hit the phones. He's looking for better effort at one and better players at the other.
With his team going through a five-game losing streak, falling to a .500 record and sitting outside of playoff position, Franke is desperate for things to change. Maybe it's best that the Komets have a few days to work before their next game Friday at home against Cincinnati.
``We'll get it figured out,'' he said. ``We're working hard in practice. We did some work on the power play today, and we're going to keep working on that and the penalty kill all week. In my opinion in what we have right now, if we can improve our special teams and improve our goaltending, it's going to be a heck of a lot easier for us to win some games. Until we can make positive headway on our special teams, we need a goalie to steal a couple of games for us.''
The Komets' power play has scored six goals in its last 83 chances, dropping to an ECHL-worst 12.1 percent for the season, and the penalty kill has been almost as ineffective over the last 25 games.
After playing intermittently for most of the season, goaltender Charlie Effinger has played eight of the nine games in February and has a 3.85 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this month.
``I know Effie can play better,'' Franke said. ``We can do a better job defending the power play and a better job on our own power play.''
The Komets got some help Tuesday when goaltender Jeff Deslauriers was assigned to Fort Wayne from Norfolk. The veteran netminder has appeared in 62 career NHL games with Anaheim and Edmonton posting a 23-32-4 record, 3.24 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Rookie forward John Dunbar is expected to return to the lineup this week after missing several weeks with an ankle injury, but forward Mike Hoban is still questionable with a sore shoulder. He's still experiencing pain when he shoots.
Franke is also trying to see about the availability of defenseman Daniel Maggio and goaltender Kenny Reiter who are on call-up to the American Hockey League.
He's also asking AHL parent club Norfolk about the availability of defenseman Nick Schaus, who has been a healthy scratch of late.
``By the end of the week, I think there will be some reinforcements,'' Franke said. ``We're looking at everything right now, trades, help from our affiliate, whatever. We've seen where our players are at (above), and we're talking to some people about some possible trades, too.''
Franke said he's talked to three or four teams about trade possibilities. The Komets have five veterans on the roster -- Colin Chaulk, Brent Henley, Brett Smith, Tyler Butler and Jamie Milam -- but are limited to playing four in each game.
``Henley is currently on reserve, and come Friday we'll make our decision what we're going to do,'' Franke said. ``It may end up being a rotation. It doesn't really work real well, but we'll figure it out.''
The general manager likes the forward lines of Chaulk, Brandon Marino and Matt Syroczynski, and Smith, Eric Giosa and Thomas Beauregard, but said the Komets need more production out of J.M. Rizk, who has one goal and two points in his last 13 games. Before that he had six goals and 11 points in 10 games.
``We need to work just a little bit harder and a little bit dirtier, and get our special teams going,'' Franke said. ``That's a lot to do, but we're running out of time. We better get it going now.''
Icing the puck
Komets captain Colin Chaulk needs one point to reach 1,000 for his professional career. He has scored 681 points with the Komets. ... Brett Smith skated in his 500th career pro game Friday at Evansville. ... Brandon Marino is tied for second in the ECHL scoring race with 59 points. ... Komets fans can save $2 off their upper arena game ticket for the next three home games with a food donation at each game.