BLAKE SEBRING: There’s always the possibility of fascinating events at a Komets game
It’s the dog days of the hockey season because the all-star game has passed, and it’s too far away to look ahead to the playoffs.
So it’s time for some fun! We gathered the finest minds on Komets hockey history we could come up with (without having to pay them), Don Detter, Ed Rose, Mike Emrick, Shane Albahrani and Larry Schmitt (OK, we were reaching on those last two), to ask them to participate in a completely unscientific survey. Yes, we asked them to search their continually fading memories!
But what they came up with is still pretty interesting. Honest!
Here’s a list of things that have never happened in a Komets game over 66 seasons and more than 5,400 games — these things really could happen. As an example, Quad City goaltender C.J. Motte was credited with scoring a goal on Dec. 9.
In other words, these might all be things to look forward to!
1. A Komets goaltender has never scored a goal. On Dec. 29, 2004, when Rockford’s Michel Robinson scored into an empty net, but a Komets goaltender has never even been credited with a fluke like Motte scored when a Komet actually made a long pass into his own net. Aim long, netminders! Michael Houser obviously thought about it for a split-second during Friday’s win over Greenville before giving the puck up to a defenseman.
2. On Dec. 31, 1988, Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux became the only player in NHL history to score a goal five different ways: even strength, power play, short-handed, penalty shot and empty net. The Komets as a team have come close a few times, usually missing only the penalty shot, but that variety of scoring would be something to see.
3. NHL broadcaster Mike Emrick came up with this doozy: Seeing both teams pull the goaltenders to leave empty nets. It almost happened on the last day of the 1987-88 NHL regular season between Pittsburgh and Washington. The Penguins needed a win to clinch a playoff berth and pulled their goaltender during overtime. Washington almost did the same thing because the Capitals could have improved their playoff positioning with a win. Pittsburgh won the game.
Komets coach Ken Ullyot once pulled his goalie during a playoff game which his team was leading 1-0! This was during the IHL’s round-robin playoff format in 1961, and even if the Komets had won, they were going to miss out on advancing because of goal differential. With just under two minutes left in regulation, Ullyot finally had to pull Carl Wetzel in an effort to find more offense. Muskegon’s Bryan McLay scored into the open net with forty-three seconds left to tie the game, and the Komets were eliminated.
4. The Komets have come back from 3-1 playoff deficits to win three times, but they’ve never rallied from a 3-0 deficit. They once had an opponent rally from a 3-0 deficit to force a seventh game which Fort Wayne won.
5. Since the Memorial Coliseum was renovated to start the 2002-03 season, there has never been back-to-back sellouts, something that happened occasionally when seating was 8,003 fans. That’s interesting considering the Komets almost always lead the league in attendance.
6. What happens if both goaltenders for one team get injured and can’t continue? Before the mid-1960s, teams used to only carry one goaltender, meaning their trainer was the back-up. Today teams usually only carry two active goaltenders, but if both get hurt in the same game a team can basically call on anyone to suit up, be it a former goaltender sitting in the stands or a defenseman or forward who is either active or inactive for that game. That would be fun for everyone to watch. Former Komets coach Dave Farrish once used three goaltenders in a 1994 game against Fort Wayne when he was coaching Salt Lake during a 12-1 loss, but the Golden Eagles had dressed three goalies for the game.
7. The Komets have had a player wear No. 00 (goaltender Kevin Weekes), but never 0 in a game. Flint’s Mel Hewitt once wore No. 111 during a game against the Komets, but that was soon outlawed by the International Hockey League. Ice D. Eagle wears No. 0, so the player would probably have to race him for it or bribe him with Peanut M&Ms. Both numbers are also banned in the NHL in 1998, which is why Weekes wore No. 80 because it’s the closest to resembling 00. The reason it was banned? It messed with the computerized statistics programs.
8. For decades, the Komets records have listed that Merv Dubchak scored goals in 10 consecutive games during his record 72-goal season in 1965-66. The only problem is the box scores printed in the newspapers only show goals in eight consecutive games, and he did it twice that season. So did John Purves in 1994-95 and Konstantin Shafranov in 1995-95. That means somebody needs to get hot and score in 11 straight so we can have an official record.
9. Eddie Long, Norm Waslawski, Rod Willard, Ron Leef and Shawn Szydlowski have all scored five goals in a game, but nobody has notched six in a single contest. The most points in a game are nine by both Eddie Long and Art Stone. It is possible.
10. Despite the incredible history of the rivalry with Toledo, which only seems to get better every season, the teams have never had a game when they combined for more than 200 penalty minutes. Everyone has memories of great brawls between the Komets and the Blades-Hornets-Mercurys-Goaldiggers-Walleye, but no one can figure out how they’ve never had at least 200 minutes in a single game. In fact, it’s been since 2006 that the Komets earned 200 minutes in a game.
If you can think of any more potential things that have never happened in a Komets game, send in a note.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not reflect the views or opinions of News-Sentinel.com. Email Blake Sebring at firstname.lastname@example.org.