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Komisarek reflects on his rough tenure with Leafs

Jul 10, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Mike Komisarek #8 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up before playing against the New York Islanders on January 24, 2012 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
(January 23, 2012 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Mike Komisarek came into Toronto on a five-year, $22.5 million contract, but it wasn’t long before injuries and on-ice struggles caused him to fall in the depth charts and never really recover.

His time with the Maple Leafs ended with the team using one of their compliance buyouts to get out of the final year of his contract.

“I never got out on the right foot (winning just one of the first 13 games)…and it never caught on from there, then the media starts getting on you and the fans start getting on you,” Komisarek told TSN 1050. “But looking back on that decision, this is the place where I wanted to come and turn things around and get into the playoffs and be a key part of it and it didn’t work out.”

Komisarek feels that part of the issue was that he tried to do too much after signing a big contract and that led to him getting caught out of position. On top of that, the scrutiny from the Toronto media might have contributed to the organization’s perception of him.

“The media presence and what is said and what’s written – coaches and people within the organization will never admit that they follow that and that it has an impact on the decisions and what they do, but they get all the clippings every day and they follow exactly what’s going on and how guys are being perceived and what’s being said.”

With that in mind he’s looking to settle into a quieter situation after signing a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

“It was definitely a learning experience, but I think I’m better for it today – going through those challenges, those ups and downs the last couple of years,” Komisarek said. “…And I’m looking to have a fresh start in Carolina and bouncing back.”

  1. sluggo1970 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Well, it’s always rough earning $22.5 million total for 5 years, and not actually having to work for it. The real world sends it condolences you big baby.

  2. pone27 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Leafs fans tend to forget how well he played for the Habs before coming to Toronto. He is a defensive Dman, not your flashy almost point per game Dman.

    Next time, maybe the Leafs management won’t overpay and then use the media, and some of these expert Leafs fans as a scapegoat that its all Komasariks fault for taking a huge contract.

    Having grown up and personally hung out with Mike through mutual friends dozens of times, I wish him the best in Carolina.

    Thumbs down away, sour Leafs fans.

    • tmlhockeyfan - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Sour? Hardly… But you implying that Leaf fans are the only people who blame players for taking big contracts then getting dumped in the minors? LOL

      In your blind hatred towards Toronto did you forgot about Montreal’s treatment of Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle, etc, New York’s treatment of Wade Redden, Edmonton’s treatment of Souray,… the list goes on, and will continue to under a salary cap system.

      FYI, players ARE responsible for what happens after they put their signature on the contract. It’s not the GM duty to make the player live up to his contract. If you get hired and don’t do your job, it’s not your boss’s fault. It’s yours.

      • pone27 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        I am far from a Toronto hater. I would more than likely be one of the more non-biased true avid hockey fan you would ever come across. But I am pretty sure many would agree that Leafs fan base, and their upper management, especially with the revenue they generate and the demand the fans have towards the whole league and their team is beyond extreme and at many times, over zealous. Its about the blaming, its how most Leafs fans (especially on here) generate the emotions. Pretty lame in my book.

        To clarify, I am a Hawks fan, so I really could care less about the Leafs. I am enjoying my summer with an amazing season and championship. But if anyone thinks that Komisarek is a bad defenseman, well, lets see how he does in Carolina.

        Also, you may want to check out the Bozak thread. I saw you had some pretty questionable opinions on that as well. I think I put in a good, outside the box perspective for you.

      • dueman - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        pone27 – You sir, are an idiot! To label any teams fan base as a whole in any way is just idiotic period. Every fan base has fans that are “extreme” as you say. To say that Leaf fans, and management(?) are beyond extreme, and overzealous is like saying, all Pittsburgh fans are whiners, or, all Philly fans are neanderthals. The comments are just not true! There are idiots in every fan base (which you have proven), but most fans are quite normal, with normal expectations. Did Komisarek provide reasonable return for his $4.5 million dollar contract? No, he didn’t, period. Dadoun, rather conveniently, left the part of the interview out where Komi praises Leaf management for doing the best they could in his situation. Komi didn’t handle the media well, but despite what you think, the Toronto media is not controlled by the Leafs. The journalists say what they want, and here’s a little secret for you – a whole lot of Toronto fans hate the Toronto media!

  3. stcrowe - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    His problem is lack of foot speed. It is hard to compensate for that when you are no longer paired up with someone like Markov.

  4. tmlhockeyfan - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    He wasn’t playing bad this last season. What did him in was the combination of his $4.5M salary and the emergence of Mark Fraser, who was playing better than Komi and only cost a $600k cap hit.

    One thing I’ll give Komisarek credit for is that through all flack he’s taken, he handled himself as a true professional. Not like Grabovski who has a lot to learn. There’s a reason Komisarek is already signed and Grabo is still job hunting.

    Good Luck in Carolina, Mike.

    • dueman - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      I agree, I think that he’ll do much better out of Toronto’s horrible media spot light. They just have to set him up with a partner with speed, that can help bail him out of trouble if needed.

    • av416 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      It’s funny you mention Mark Fraser given that all Komi needed to do to stay in favor with everyone in TO was play that style of game. The big payday went to Komi’s head in that he felt he needed to overcompensate to prove his worthiness of the big contract

  5. lonespeed - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    It’s okay. Getting your name on the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes will make things better.

  6. av416 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Being one of the more pessimistic leaf fans out there, even the outcome of this contract surprised me. It’s easy to understand how an offensive defenseman like Redden or Souray or Kaberle (in boston) coming to a new team can create big mistakes and pressure because those types of defensemen have to be dynamic and creative to be worth the contracts they demand. Komi’s contract was too big a hit at 4.5, but beyond that it is garbage that blame is put on media, the fans, or management. I promise you that Ron WIlson was not instructing Komi to take chances or play any type of game that he was uncomfortable with. I think the bottom line was that Komi knew that he didn’t deserve that big payday and over compensated in trying to prove his worth to the fans and media, which he would have done if he stuck with playing physical, and simple defensive hockey like in MTL. Good luck to the guy he’s taken enough heat from everyone in TO.

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