Tailing the Komets: What the team is working on

Gabriel Desjardins

Went to practice today to see how the guys are coming off the road trip. A few items:

* Gabriel Desjardins is ready come off injured reserve and will be in the lineup Thursday in Toledo.

* Justin Hodgman will not. He first had a hip problem he was working on, came back to practice a couple of weeks ago before taking a tumble and messing up his shoulder. He’s out at least another couple of weeks. Could be a little longer.

* Without Hodgman, the Komets are a little small at center so they are having a hard time with faceoffs.

“What we need to do with the way we are built right now through the middle, we’re going to need to have a team philosophy on winning draws sometimes,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “Some given nights we might be out-matched size-wise on dots, and we’re going to have to find different ways of making things happen.”

They are also focusing on working on coming back into the defensive zone to cut down on odd-man rushes. Many people read defensive zone and think it must be the defensemen, but actually they are talking about the forwards consistently hustling back.

“It all starts right from the offensive zone,” Graham said. “It’s the habits of your forwards in the offensive zone and reading puck possession. You need to start shading to the defensive side of the puck more because the transition happens so fast you are already behind the 8 Ball. Reading the possession in the offensive zone is so key. The overall effort on the backcheck is good sometimes like it was the first two games on the roadtrip and not so good like the last game.”

* Dennis Kravchenko said he’s back to full strength after missing a few games with a deep leg bruise after missing a shot. The center came back for the last game in Utah after sitting out a week.

“I felt pretty good last game,” he said. “I’m not afraid of blocking shots. I feel like I’m back to where I need to be.”

* “I think we have to work on our special teams a little more,” captain Jamie Schaafsma said. “Also, I think our forecheck in generating some more zone time to help us draw some penalties is another thing. Neutral zone regroups and gaining speed in the neutral zone is one key area we’re concentrating on this week.”