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Sometimes Komets have fun on road away from ice

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For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

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Komets at Kalamazoo
Face-off: 8 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM

Low penalties in Elmira; thinking about an assistant

Friday, December 13, 2013 - 7:32 pm

Here's an example of the fun stuff that sometimes happens on the road with the Komets.

WOWO announcer Bob Chase tells the story of a trip to Georgia to play Gwinnett last year. The bus driver had an uncanny resemblance to country singer Trace Adkins, including the drawl. After a game, the team went to a restaurant and some of the boys sat at the bar with the bus driver.

A star-struck waitress was spotted looking over, and one of the Komets asked if she'd like to meet "Trace.'' The waitress perked up immediately and eventually told all her co-workers Adkins was there. The players got great service but the crowd got so bad the guys couldn't convince her it wasn't actually Trace Adkins! She thought they were covering up for the real Adkins.

She left that night with an autograph and a pretty good tip. She's probably heartbroken that "Trace'' hasn't come back – which sounds like a song.

Being too careful

The Komets and Elmira Jackals played a game last week when each team finished with only one penalty.

There have been a few times during the Komets' 62-year franchise history when they've played games with no penalties, but usually there are special circumstances. It's most often happened during the last game before Christmas break when everyone, the referee included, is looking to get out of town as quickly as possible.

It's also odd considering the game was held in Elmira, which is the place the Komets were last involved in a 200-penalty-minute game when the teams combined for 253 minutes Dec. 9, 2006. That's also the fifth-most penalty minutes ever in a Komets game.

The top 10 Komets games with most penalty minutes (both teams combined):

334: Jan. 31, 2003 at Flint

296: Dec. 12, 1998 vs. Michigan

266: March 6, 1997 vs. San Antonio

259: Dec. 13, 1961 vs. Indianapolis

253: Dec. 9, 2006 vs. Elmira

245: Feb. 22, 1987 vs. Salt Lake

225: April 19, 1978 vs. Muskegon

225: April 19, 1982 vs. Kalamazoo

224: April 16, 1983 vs. Flint

216: April 10, 1982 vs. Kalamazoo

211: March 20, 1992 vs. Kalamazoo

211: Dec. 5, 1993 vs. Las Vegas

Still thinking about it

While Fort Wayne native Brian Gratz has asked the Komets about becoming an assistant coach, the team has not made a decision on whether to add help for coach Gary Graham.

"We're thinking about it, but we haven't really talked about it,'' General Manager David Franke said. "We've just been busy. It's something we're considering but we haven't really sat down and talked.''

It's also possible the Komets may decide to go with another candidate, including maybe a former Komet living in Fort Wayne.

Break coming up

The ECHL's Christmas holiday break is from Dec. 23 to Dec. 25. Teams are prohibited from making trades or placing players on waivers from 5 p.m. Dec. 20 through noon Dec. 26. The Komets will return Dec. 26 for an afternoon practice to get ready for their Dec. 27 home game against Toledo.

Komets Kare wish list

The seventh year of Komets Kare Package will be held Dec. 27, 29 and 31. Here's a list of needed items from the folks at Hoosiers Helping Heroes: jerky, breath mints, gum, men's and women's deodorant, snack bars, small bags of nuts, feminine hygiene items, nail clippers, potato chips, plastic jars of peanut butter, hard candy, candy bars, packs of cookies, baby wipes, black socks, razors, shampoo, flip-flops of all sizes, body wash, chess and checker sets, protein bars, trail mix, chicken or tuna salad snack packs, sunflower seeds, puzzle books, travel-insulated mugs, drink and sports drink sleeves.

Icing the puck

Center Scott Fleming has taken over the scoring lead for rookies with 20 points in 20 games. ... There's a sense that the Komets play better against the best competition while struggling against the weaker teams, but the stats say they are 5-3-2 against teams currently under .500 and 3-5-2 against teams currently over .500. ... Defenseman Jeremy Gates returned to practice after missing a month with a lower-body injury and hopes to possibly play next week. Bobby Hughes has also been skating after missing last week with a shoulder injury. ... The ECHL recently announced its 2014 Hall of Fame class of James Edwards, Wes Goldie, Al MacIsaac and John Spoltore. They'll be inducted in February. ... Fort Wayne native Larkin Saalfrank has signed with Danville of the Federal Hockey League. The goaltender was in training camp with the Komets.