Komets notes: Justin MacDonald explains his side of Triston Grant incident
Though it’s been almost two weeks since Quad City’s Triston Grant decked Komets forward Justin MacDonald near the end of a March 4 been, MacDonald has not been able to return to the lineup because of a concussion. Grant was suspended for the final 14 games of the season.
MacDonald admits he wanted to fight with Grant, and that’s why he lined up next to the Mallards’ captain before the faceoff, but what started the incident?
“He was being an agitator the whole game trying to get us off our game,” MacDonald said last weekend. “We’re talking about going and what not once the puck drops, and he grabs me before the puck drops. I’m like well, I don’t think he’s going to punch me right now. I don’t think he’d ever do that. Maybe I can draw a penalty because he’s already dropped his gloves, we’re up by one and there’s seven minutes left and we can really use a power play. The next thing I see coming was his fist and I definitely couldn’t get out of the way. That was it for the rest of the night for me. I drew a five-minute power play, so I’ll take that. It definitely was not the fight I was expecting.”
MacDonald was willing to bet Grant wouldn’t start something before the drop of the faceoff, especially considering Grant had just finished a five-game suspension and this was his first game back.
“That’s what you do 99.9 percent of the time,” MacDonald said. “It never happens before the puck drops. That’s not a good captain at all, you can’t do that. You have to show some leadership out there and respect for players. He wasn’t doing that all game. It was his first game back after being suspended, you’d think he’d show a little more self-control. I’m glad he got suspended for the rest of the season.”
With so many injured players missing from the lineup tonight in Reading, there is a little bit of good news on the injury front.
Cody Sol’s elbow surgery was successful, removing a bunch of bone chips, some of which were substantial.
“I feel good and I’m a few weeks away,” the veteran defenseman said. “They cleaned it up so it’s feeling better already. It’s just been so tight for so long, hopefully, I’ll be better in the long run. They are already pushing me in therapy.”
He’s hoping to possibly return for the last week of the regular season.
Though he’s out for the rest of the season, forward Taylor Crunk underwent hip surgery Feb. 23 to repair a torn labrum and is using crutches for another two or three weeks. The surgery also shaved some of the bone down and did some rib decompression, and he’s looking to be ready for training camp.
Welcome back, ref
As he fell awkwardly 32 seconds into Saturday night’s game, referee Stephen Thomson suffered a second-degree shoulder separation, meaning the ligaments were stretched and not torn. Somehow, Thomson called the rest of the game, which included raising his injured left shoulder to blow his whistle.
According to ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst, Thomson is recovering nicely and will miss about a week of action. In fact, his next game is a week from today when the Komets host Kalamazoo.
Wow, that was fast
By winning their 40th game in the season’s 58th game last Friday, the Komets tied for second on the all-time record list. The 1059-60 Komets won 40 games in 57 games, and the 2007-08 Komets also won 40 games in 58 games. The 1991-92 and 1983-84 squads reached the mark in 61 games.
Icing the puck
The Komets need one point to clinch a playoff berth for the 57th time in 66 seasons, and 25th time in 28 years under Franke brothers ownership… They also need two points to clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs… Artie Tyanulin has a nine-game point streak going, and a nine-game road point streak… Curtis Leonard is the only Komet who has played in every game this season… Gabriel Desjardins has taken over the team lead with 28 goals… Shawn Szydlowski starts the week with a three-point lead on Manchester’s Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman for the ECHL scoring lead. Garrett Thompson is sixth and Gabriel Desjardins is 10th… Szydlowski leads the league in plus-minus at plus-38, followed by Leonard at plus-35 and Desjardins at plus-32… Ryan Lowney is tied for the lead among rookies at plus-26, and Leonard leads all defensemen… The Komets are 19-10-0 on the road this season with seven games remaining. The franchise record is 25 road wins set in 2008-09 and 2003-04.