Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Panic attack

You know how there's always that one scene in certain comedies where the heroes are faced with mortal peril, and one of the heroes always says "This is no time to panic, people"?

And you know how one of the other heroes always says "What are you talking about? This is the perfect time to panic!"?

Been thinking about that a lot the last couple days as I listen to various Komets fans/observers clutch their pearls because lowly Cincinnati snuck into town and stole two games from the division champs in their best-of-seven first-round series.

All I've heard is the Komets didn't do this and they didn't do that, that they got outworked on home ice by an inferior team, and that with the next three games happening in Cincinnati ... well, they might not be toast just yet, but they're starting to brown nicely on both sides.

Here's what I think about all that: I've got 10 fingers and 10 toes.

I've got 10 fingers and 10 toes, and not even they're enough to count all the times in my 28 years as a Fort Wayne sportswriter that the Komets have been down a well in a playoff series. And came back to win.

So, no, this is not a perfect time to panic. It's a time to take a step back, draw a deep breath and reassess.

Here's what I gleaned from watching game video and reading game accounts from people who know what they're talking about, such as my former colleague Justin Cohn: The Komets did not exactly get played off their feet last weekend. What happened was -- and what frequently happens with teams away from home -- is Cincinnati came in with a solid, conservative game plan and the Cyclones stuck to it. They played position hockey, jammed up the neutral zone and waited for the Komets to make mistakes.

Which they did, obligingly.

What they didn't do is get blown out in either game, although you wouldn't know it to hear some people talk. They lost two 3-2 games -- games in which they largely outplayed the Cyclones, outshooting the visitors 68-43. The chances were there. And the chances are going to continue to be there, because, yes, they're more talented than the Cyclones, and on the road they're likely to play a more basic style that will reward that.

So ... chill, people. These are the Komets, after all. Digging holes for themselves and climbing out of them is kind of what they do.

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