After some wonderful weeks that included marriage and a honeymoon, I'm back to find the Komets in absolute disarray. It must have been fun around here, eh?
First off, I'd like to thank Ben Smith, who has been handling the Komets coverage so well in my absence. (More on this later.) Secondly, I must concede, I find the coaching search to be a fascinating one. This is from my outsider's point of view, but it sure seems Pat Bingham would be a great fit. In my experience, he's a very knowledgeable hockey guy, with a good personality and he fields physical teams. Aren't those the traits you all have been clambering for? Also, Bingham has got connections around the higher levels -- he's coached in the American Hockey League and in the well-affiliated ECHL -- and I have to believe he would bring in some good prospects because of his ties. His was the second name that came to mind when Greg Puhalski resigned. (Todd Brost's was the first). Weeks later, Bingham just seems to fit.
Then there's John Marks. Older. More experienced. More proven resume. Can't go wrong there. I've heard great things about him. Heck, former Komets forward Sean Venedam gave him the nod. What more do we really need? It seems as if Marks would be more of a Dave Allison-type of coach, a guy whose vast experience will give him credibility right away. And he, too, is known as a personable fellow.
Still, I think back to the last playoffs and how impressed Fort Wayne management was with the Rockford IceHogs, who ousted the Komets from the first round. A big part of that was Rockford's coach, Steve Martinson, a fiery guy who fielded a young, physical team with an eye on grooming players for higher levels. Bingham would probably bring the same traits. I wish I could be in the room asking questions with the Franke brothers, but based on what I know and have read, I think Bingham will be the guy.
That being said, I'll have to continue giving you a bit of an outsider's point of view on this blog. I'm using some of the summer get my feet wet in some other parts of the newspaper, writing some more in-depth pieces, and it was scheduled many months in advance. So at least in the short-term, Ben will remain your guy on the Komets beat. Hopefully we can get him on here to blog some more.
I should note, while I was in British Columbia, I saw some places I've written about in hockey circles, like Nanaimo (home of Jason Kean), Chilliwack (home of the Chiefs) and Victoria (an almost-rival of the Komets in the International Hockey League).
Are you all pleased with the candidates the Komets ended up with? Or would you have rather the likes of Bruce Ramsay, Paul Willett, Rick Adduono and Steffon Walby been given more consideration?
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette