The wait is over. After yet another long off-season following a fifth consecutive year of missing out on the NHL post-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are set to kick off the 2010-11 season against their oldest rival, the Montreal Canadiens.
Both teams have undergone an off-season where - despite the lack of a full-scale overhaul - crucial moves were made to bring in key players or (in Montreal's case) provide a better opportunity for players already in the organization. Gone from the 2009-10 Toronto lineup are Viktor Stalberg, Rickard Wallin and Keith Primeau, replaced by Kris Versteeg, Colby Armstrong, and Brett Lebda. In Montreal, the most impactful move was the trade of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St Louis in exchange for Lars Eller, a move which paves the way for Carey Price to assert his standing among starting NHL netminders.
Weâ€™ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up we feature Mike Komisarek, profiled by Alec Brownscombe.
The Summary: Mike Komisarek entered the 2009-10 season on a new five year, 22.5 million contract (4.5 per) with hopes that the change of scenery to different albeit analogous surroundings would help restore his '07-08 form after a setback of a Â '08-09 season. In a year of injuryÂ and acrimony (including charges of a lack of focus), Komisarek would sit among league leaders in giveaways and seemed to reach a breaking point in his embarrassing bouts with Milan Lucic in the playoffs. While Komisarek overcomplicated his defensive game and was often caught out of position as a result, the silver lining remained Komisarek's team-leading 191 hits and top five shot block total.
Since the Montreal Canadiens disposed of the Toronto Maple Leafs in an overtime decision in the season-opener on Oct.1, Mike Komisarek has been chastised by Habs fans, even garnering the nickname, â€œHomosarek.â€--- but I have to admit, that one is actually pretty damn funny.
However, what Canadiens fans fail to recognize is that Komisarek, in the midst of a slump, has performed quite well in comparison to the Canadiensâ€™ defensemen in terms of defensive statistics---except for +/-, which is generally a team stat, and I donâ€™t have to show you where the Leafs are currently positioned in that regard.