It is not too often one can suggest a team’s low point of the season could come in the aftermath of a victory, but that may be the case today for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As if online reports that defender Mike Komisarek is being investigated for assault by Los Angeles police in relation to an incident during the team’s west coast road trip weren’t bad enough, several Leafs’ players — including the team captain — reportedly skipped an optional skate which was open to the public, at a time when the team needs all the goodwill it can get.
Komisarek Investigated for Assault
Reports began surfacing earlier today that Mike Komisarek is being investigated by Los Angeles police following an incident during last week’s west coast road trip. Allegations have been made that Komisarek may have punched a woman at a nightclub in Los Angeles, and police are reportedly investigating the incident.
While it is important not to rush to judgment until further details emerge — we’ve seen numerous examples of these sorts of allegations being proven fraudulent in the sporting world — it is interesting that the report originated on TMZ, a site which generally doesn’t spend much time reporting on athletes/celebrities who are not household names.Â We can only hope that for Komisarek’s sake that there is indeed much more to this story than has been revealed thus far.Â In the meantime, given there is an investigation already underway, one cannot expect much (if any) in the way of public commentary or response from Komisarek or his legal representation.
Several Leafs’ Players Absent from Optional Skate
Normally, this sort of a thing wouldn’t be a big deal. After all, today’s skate was optional, and certain players do have their game-day rituals.Â However, this story does become newsworthy insofar as today’s optional skate just so happened to be open to the public, with more than 8,000 children and their families in attendance.
In the midst of a disappointing season where they have failed to meet fan expectations, the team is in need of all the goodwill it can get.Â One can imagine GM Brian Burke, who is an outspoken proponent of community service as a mandatory part of his players’ duties, couldn’t have been pleased that his captain (among others) was unable to attend an event geared toward those who have stood by their team through such a tumultuous season.
According to the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran, players who decided to forego the skate included Dion Phaneuf, Francois Beauchemin, Phil Kessel and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.Â In the meantime, Mike Komisarek — the one player for whom it would be understandable to skip such an event — was there to take part in it.
Whatever the reasons for three of the team’s leaders and their marquee player to miss the skate were — and I am not suggesting they weren’t legitimate, only the players know that — the bottom line is it reflects poorly upon the team that its leaders would choose not to attend an optional skate, especially one that is open to the public and sure to be attended by many of their most ardent supporters.Â Particularly in the case of Phaneuf, whose captaincy carries certain responsibilities off the ice; for example, being present to represent the team at public events geared specifically toward the fanbase, such as this one.
The Leafs will look to skate away from the dark clouds hanging over the team tonight as hosts to the Washington Capitals, with whom they have split their first two meetings (both ending 5-4 in a shootout).Â As is the case with most of the bad news in sports, winning has a way of solving everything … or at least of keeping people’s minds off the negative happenings.Â With that in mind, MLHS will have a gameday thread posted for you a little closer to game time.
Looking forward to your thoughts as always,