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Cincinnati at Komets
Faceoff: 8 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
After winning five championships in Fort Wayne, Colin Chaulk's leadership abilities are unquestionable. If he were an American citizen, we'd try convincing him to run for a seat in Congress. (As if we could be that cruel.)
But here's a goal that may lead the captain to consider turning in his C. As he continues his comeback from a shoulder injury and a foot infection, there's a new challenge Chaulk needs to take on. He's always been among the most unselfish players in hockey, but right now the Komets need him to be greedier.
Right now, what the Komets need most is for Chaulk to shoot the puck. Then shoot it again. He needs to keep firing until he breaks every stick or until this offense starts to score to its potential. They need him to develop a lack of conscience to the point where goaltenders start looking for him to let loose as soon as he crosses the blue line. On the power play, he should try for two shots each shift, especially if he's playing the point.
Yeah, right, you may think, that will never happen because Chaulk is famous for not shooting. Despite having exceptional touch and accuracy, he sees using it too often as being selfish and sometimes self-centered. In fact, he once joked, "People ask me to shoot more, and it's hard for me to do that. Even my mom tells me to shoot more, and she doesn't even watch the games."
Even before he was injured, Chaulk attempted only 26 shots on goal during his first 19 games. He had four last weekend in two games. Komets coach Al Sims said earlier this season he put Chaulk into a shootout because he'd have to shoot since there was no one else to pass to. Of course, Chaulk scored.
Maybe the way to approach this is to present it to Chaulk as a leadership challenge because he loves those even more than he hates to shoot.
Chaulker, right now the Komets need you to shoot. This is the best thing you can do to help lead this team right now. The system doesn't work as well unless someone is firing, and currently the Komets don't have one player who averages as many as three shots per game. Not one player is averaging one shot per period!
The Komets' game plan is built on controlling the puck and operating in the opponents' defensive zone, wearing them out by moving the puck until a good shot pops open or they take a penalty. That's why they love to have the weakside (away from the puck) defensemen pinch in whenever an opponent tries to whip the puck around the boards to relieve the pressure. The defensemen are supposed to kick the puck back in and keep the pressure going.
Chaulk might see shooting as being adverse to that strategy, but it would actually be a positive because he has one of the best, most accurate shots on the team. He'll also have two talented forwards crashing the net for rebounds in Matt Syroczynski and Brandon Marino, and if the goaltender just covers up to stop play, Chaulk can usually win the faceoff to maintain control.
The Komets are getting outshot in 60 percent of their games. That usually means they aren't doing that well controlling the puck. This team needs to score more, which means it also needs to take more shots.
They just need Chaulk to be what they need the most and get him to shoot some more. Take the lead on this offense, Chaulker, by launching more shots. It's what the Komets really need you to do.
And don't make us bring your mother into this.