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Last updated: Thu. Dec. 26, 2013 - 02:37 am EDT

COLUMN

Odd theory for Komets' inconsistent start

Maybe there are two different leagues in the ECHL

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Here's another wild theory on the Komets' early-season struggles.

Maybe it's not the players, goaltenders included, or the coaching, but where they got some of their supposedly better players last summer.

For the last few years, there's been a feeling among many ECHL followers that there's a distinct difference between teams on the West Coast and teams on the East Coast. There are essentially two different leagues.

Eastern teams have won the Kelly Cup as playoff champions quite easily five of the last six seasons. Except for Alaska's 4-1 win over Kalamazoo in 2011, teams from the East have won three of the last four titles, taking the championship series by 4-1 scores.

In part, that has led many Eastern teams to suggest the Western teams are a little softer, a little less aggressive and maybe a little less defensive-oriented. Maybe it's because only one West Coast teams misses the playoffs every year.

Because the Komets have been in the ECHL for less that two years and they haven't played many Western teams, that's tough to judge, but it's an interesting theory.

But the Komets have replaced nine players so far this season, and look where most of them played last season. Players such as Nick Tuzzolino, Bobby Hughes, Brett Lyon, Tristan King, Rob Kwiet and Jake Hauswirth and even Paul McIllveen from training camp were all players who played most of their careers in the Western Conference.

About the only players still with the team who played in the Western Conference last year are Nik Pokulok (six games with Stockton) and Simon Danis-Pepin who played 61 games with San Francisco last year after playing his first three seasons in the East.

It gets even a little odder when you look at the numbers. Players who spent most of last year on the West Coast before coming to the Komets played 65 games in Fort Wayne before getting released. They combined for seven goals, 24 points and a plus-minus rating of minus-33. The entire team has a minus-56 rating which has been gradually improving from minus-72.

Those numbers get even crazier if you include Jace Coyle (minus-12) who played in Idaho last year, Phil Mangan (minus-6) who has played mostly in Bakersfield and Stockton.

It's just kind of strange.


This column is the commentary of the writer and does not reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Blake Sebring at bsebring@news-sentinel.com bsebring@news-sentinel.com> .


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