It feels strange to have the similar attitude of Bill Watters on Leafs Lunch towards prized free agent acquisition, Mike Komisarekâ€™s regular season debut against his former club. But â€¦ here we are.
Komisarek began this season with similar unnecessary aggression, that crept in towards the end of the season, and in the playoffs when he tried to get at Milan Lucic instead of playing his game.Â With all the grit and edge Toronto added in the off season makeover it was ugly to watch him spend so much time in the penalty box.
From the beginning of training camp, even in the rookie tournament, it was evident the first pass out of the zone was instrumental in the Leafs transition game.Â When Burke went out and made his acquisitions he kept that element in mind when making changes.Â That meant, in the backcheck, limit space to just inside the blueline for opposition to turn it over and transition quickly out.
Toughness and newly acquired grit and sandpaper provides a buffer should the puck pass the top of the face-off circles and get down low.Â This area should be pretty deep down the roster.Â Bodies inserted into the lineup should act as momentum stoppers. Beachemin, Komisarek, Exelby, Finger and Schenn are supposed to slow down and limit play down low as well as clear the space in front of the net.
In the end I think Komisarek was more jacked playing his former team rather than being a Maple Leaf and will chalk it up to a one-off incident.Â His new team playing the old team is quite a combination to face early in the season and emotions could certainly run high.
He got it out of his system and return to the simple game realizing he doesnâ€™t have to punish people every shift to be effective rounding out into a smarter game.
It’s nice to gloss over all the changes made and rekindled that lost flame for a foray into the playoffs and that’s the type of race fans are going to get this season.
Toronto is in the mix of a group of teams fighting it out for essentially two playoff spots.Â Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, all division rivals, will end up battling it out with the likes of Tampa Bay, Florida, Buffalo and Atlanta for a playoff spot down the stretch.Â The Rangers are a Marian Gaborik injury away from fighting for a playoff spot.
On any given night any team can beat another for crucial points throughout the season and these games are important in the schedule, even as early as last nightâ€™s overtime loss. Major adversity could cost a playoff spot for any of those teams .. and itâ€™s already thinning.
The Habs are first to face major adversity with the loss of Andrei Markov.
So begins the season.
The greatest penalty announcement last night was roughing minors to Raymond/Bourque in the third period of the Vancouver/Calgary opener.
Weâ€™re going to delay the podcast until we figure out some technical issues. Coming soon â€¦