BLOOMINGTON — If the local hockey team ever decides to change its name, Aaron Dawson has a suggestion.
“We have been the Bloomington Distractions,” the Blaze defenseman said Thursday, tongue mostly in cheek.
Like their predecessor, the Blaze have fallen victim to similar on- and off-ice struggles in their start-up year. As examples just in the last week, players have refused to get on the team bus for a road trip and a veteran goaltender decided to unexpectedly retire.
There was also the 12-game winless streak.
That led Dawson to air out the dressing room recently where the assistant captain called out teammates wallowing in their own misery.
“You would see guys moping around,” Dawson said. “It was the same handful of guys hanging their heads and feeling sorry for themselves. It’s OK to feel bad for the team, but you can’t feel sorry for yourself. The big thing I said was quit feeling sorry for yourself and pick it up.”
That mini-speech came during the week leading up to a surprising win over Allen that snapped the winless streak. The Blaze ended up winning back-to-back games as the roster went through some turnover.
“It’s getting better,” Dawson said. “Everybody is learning what they have to deal with and accept the fact that we’re a brand new team, a brand new organization. We’ve gotten used to it. We’re learning to separate the off-ice distractions from what goes on the ice.”
Forward Brodie Sheahan said Dawson’s locker room lecture was much-needed.
“You don’t want guys on your team who don’t want to be here,” Sheahan said. “It’s just going to hurt everyone else. I think it was a good turning point for our team.”
Hot Komets: The Blaze play three games in three days this weekend, starting with Friday night’s 7:05 matchup with red-hot Fort Wayne.
The Komets have won their last six, the longest current streak in the Central Hockey League. Four of those wins have come on the road, including back-to-back triumphs at Rapid City, to push the Komets to within one point of first-place Evansville in the Turner Conference.
Bloomington has won its last two at home.
“There’s no easy night, obviously, for us,” Gardner said. “But hopefully the last two wins at home gives us some confidence. It’s not like our guys have stopped working or stopped trying.”
Bloomington (3-12-2) hosts Tulsa Saturday night before a road game Sunday at Evansville.
One-timers: Forwards Karl Fournier and Matt Whitehead, who refused to make the trip to Tulsa last weekend, were officially waived this week. They had been on team suspension. … Fort Wayne radio voice Bob Chase, 84, is in his 59th season calling Komets’ games. He is a World War II veteran.
Follow Mike Egenes on Twitter during Blaze home games at twitter.com/Pg_Egenes