For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
ECHL Conference semifinals
Cincinnati at Komets
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
CINCINNATI - There are a million ways to determine whether trades were successful, and it sure seemed like the Fort Wayne Komets had a million of them to judge this season.
Did the player received end up with better statistics than the player traded? Did the player traded for fit in better? Did he spark strong play in others? Would you want the traded player back if that was an option?
The Komets made 12 significant transactions this season, some more earth-shaking than others such as Nick Tuzzolino for Jordon Southorn or Rob Kwiet and Bobby Hughes for Mike Embach and Nathan Martine.
Others seemed like small deals during the summer, such as Bobby Hughes for J.M. Rizk, future considerations for Simon Danis-Pepin. A few – Jace Coyle, Kenton Miller and Jason Dale – were for cash.
Maybe some that seemed the smallest turned out to be the biggest, like Phil Mangan for Ben Meisner,
Maybe even the most controversial trades – Mickey Lang for David Rutherford and eventually Aaron Clarke, and Mike Vaskivuo and Nik Pokulok for Matt Carter and Christian Ouellet – could spark some discussion. Lang won the ECHL's Most Valuable Player award, but Clarke was the final piece to spark the Komets' current playoff run.
Here's another way to look at the extent of the trades: Eleven players, or almost half the roster, never played a game with Lang, who was traded at Christmas. Embach played only two games with him.
But here's the thing, and another potential way to judge the trades: None of the players who were traded from Fort Wayne and their teams are still playing in the playoffs. It's a remarkable coincidence and tells how well the players who came in from those trades committed to the team.
Back-up goaltender Steven Summerhays is going to be eligible to become a college graduate by the end of the day. He headed back to Notre Dame last night to take the last final of his college career as a finance major.
``I go to summer school every year so it makes it a little easier and I can take two classes in the second semester of my senior year,'' Summerhays said. ``It's like studying during road trips so you kind of get used to it. It's crazy that it's over.''
He'll be back in time for Tuesday's practice.
These next three games will probably be the toughest the Komets have played all season.
Cincinnati had the ECHL's best road record this season with a 24-9-3 mark, including 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum. The Cyclones also won all three first-round games at Orlando, they are completely comfortable playing away from home. They'll also be refreshed with four much-needed days off before Thursday's Game 3.
Still, Komets coach Gary Graham thinks the Komets need a few days off as well.
``It's a good thing for us,'' he said. ``We have to work on some things in practice, get back into the film room, do some improving and get some guys some rest so that will be good for us.''
Goaltender Andrey Makarov played all five playoff games with Rochester against Chicago in the American Hockey League playoffs. Chicago won in five games, but Makarov had a 3.00 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
The Komets included Makarov on their playoff roster as their third goaltender, meaning he could report or be assigned to Fort Wayne now that the Americans are eliminated. Komets General Manager David Franke said before Saturday's game he wasn't sure there would be a need to bring Makarov in right away.
While mostly focusing on keeping the puck out of the net instead of helping get it in the net at the other end, defensemen Will Lacasse and Joe Hartman don't get a lot of notice unless they mess up. Before being on the ice for three Cincinnati goals Saturday night, Hartman and Lacasse had not been scored upon in the first six games of the playoffs, including power plays.
Christian Ouellet had one game-winning goal during 33 regular-season games with the Komets but now has two in the playoffs. ... Kaleigh Schrock has played 44 playoff games as a Komet and needs eight more to climb into the team's all-time top 20 list. ... Cincinnati has seven players on the playoff roster who are under NHL contract and six under AHL contract. The Komets have two, Shawn Szydlowski and Andrey Makarov. ... The Komets are 10-6 all-time in series when they win the first game on the road. ... Cincinnati had 108 days in first place in the North Division this season; the Komets didn't have any. ... During seven playoff games so far, the Komets have had seven different referees. ... It's been 52 games since the Komets were shut out in a playoff game, which was April 22, 2009, when Joel Martin of Kalamazoo did it. The last Komets shutout of an opponent in a playoff game was Nick Boucher's 4-0 win over Port Huron on May 3, 2010.