``It was a clinic,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said. ``That was the worst game for us by far.''
They keep making the same mistakes every game, almost like they practice them. Actually, Graham's practices are designed to work on eliminating the miscues, but once again, the Komets played hard early, gained the lead and then blew it for the seventh time in eight games.
Here's some of the things they keep doing wrong:
* For the fourth time this season they gave up a goal off a face-off play in their own end. Face-off, pass, goal! Except it long to read it than to see it.
* For the fifth time this season, the Komets scored to take a lead or tie a game and then gave up a goal on the very next shift. What to bet the last thing the coach said before the face-off was, ``Everybody bear down now!''
* The forwards don't hit, but they sure are good at getting plastered against the boards every shift. If they don't make a fancy play in the offensive zone, they don't make any play at all. The Komets had only 12 shots on goal through the first 30 minutes.
* They are making goaltenders look good. The Komets must lead the world on shots into the opposing belly pad, and most of those are coming from way outside.
* Except for Scott Fleming, they can't consistently win a face-off in their own zone.
These are basic things, things they work on in practice which are not being translated into the games.
The Komets are team built on speed, but the Nailers were faster. The Komets are built on big defensemen, but the Nailers kept skating inside them and to rebounds. The Komets are supposed to be more of a threat with the man advantage this season, with players signed specifically as power-play specialists, but they rarely threaten and have no forwards in front paying the price to make a play.
The forwards play like they are meeting each other for the first time at the opening face-off. They are supposed to be a puck possession team, but they quickly fall back into the habit of dumping and chasing the puck, and they rarely win a battle along the boards to get it back.
They are 0-1-2 at home but there is little grit or resiliency being displayed. You've got to wonder if there's a crisis of confidence as much as identity.
The Komets have been in every game this season, but mostly they've found ways to lose. The opponents have showed tenacity by rallying, but you know every coach is saying between periods, ``If we come back at them hard, you know they'll cave.'' So far, that's the only consistency the Komets have shown.
``Everybody is playing for their jobs,'' Graham said in answer to a question. ``These guys have to figure that out sooner than later. It's not going to be something where we get out-battled and out-competed. That's something that is not going to happen. We have to get the right guys in here to do that if these guys aren't willing to do that.''
Some players are skating around like ghosts, avoiding contact and conflict. What will they do tonight against undefeated Cincinnati on the road?
Maybe it's time for the coach to start kicking something.
OnlineFor more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
Komets at Cincinnati
Face-off: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WKJG, 1380-AM