FORT WAYNE – When it comes to selecting the Komets next captain, coach Gary Graham said hes not in a rush.
He doesnt need to be, since the Komets have plenty of capable candidates.
And he doesnt want to be, since picking the replacement for the retired Colin Chaulk is an important task, especially on a team that missed the playoffs last season and has an almost entirely new roster.
You will see the leaders rise to the top, Graham said. Im a big guy on reading body language, and I want to wait and see who demonstrates the skills and how people respond to it.
Conventional wisdom suggests the captain will be Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, since he has the longest tenure on the team and has been an alternate captain in three of his four seasons.
However, Graham has said he wants to see more leadership from Brandon Marino, who was the teams MVP last season, and Chris Auger, who is in his third season with the Komets.
Graham has also lauded the leadership of newcomers Nick Tuzzolino and Simon Danis-Pepin, but Graham isnt saying whos got the inside track for letters on their sweaters.
However, he loved the grit and leadership he saw from some of the players in Wednesdays 4-3 exhibition victory at Wheeling, W.Va.
While the Komets were penalty prone – they were short-handed nine times, seven more than the Nailers – Fort Wayne scored three unanswered goals in the third period.
I really like where were at, said Graham, whose Komets play their final two exhibition games tonight at Kalamazoo, Mich., and Saturday at Memorial Coliseum against the Nailers.
There are a lot of good guys on this team who wont be able to make the roster. There was no sense of doubt that we could do it and come out with the win (Wednesday.)
At Wheeling, Schrock and Danis-Pepin both fought and there was a lot of hitting.
Our defense was very physical and wasnt letting up. They were finishing up their checks, Graham said.
He said the lineup will be different tonight and hopes the Komets will play a smarter game – that means fewer penalties – and be able to install more of their systems instead of being short-handed so much.
It should be noted this will be the Komets first game against Chaulk, now an assistant coach with the Wings. He will make his first trip to the Coliseum on Jan. 5.