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06-20-2013, 07:05 PM
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I think this is an interesting situation to speculate on. If you're not one for conspiracy theories just humor and read this with an open mind.

Komisarek was ruined by Ron Wilson's run and gun style. Komisarek is a true stay at home defensemen that doesn't have good mobility but he's very strong and great at clearing the front of the net, along the boards and he's a great locker room guy, by all accounts. Ron Wilson's system had the offensive players leaving the zone as soon as they saw the defensemen were in control of the puck, instead of staying back for an outlet pass, this allows for a lot of offense because when that breakout pass is made, the opposing team's forecheckers are still well behind the blue line and so this leads to a lot of odd man rushes. The catch here is the defensemen needs to make that pass against the forecheckers to the forwards who aren't square to you waiting for a pass, but rather flying up through the neutral zone. It works great when you have great PMDs on the backend, but when you have guys like Komisarek trying to make those passes, it leads to turn overs galore, hence the hate on Komisarek.

Carlyle comes in and replaces that breakout system with something much more traditional and conservative. The forwards wait around the hashmarks until they break out, so instead of a 40+ foot pass, the defense just needs to dump the puck along the boards or make a quick 20 foot tape to tape pass. This is cohesive to Komisarek's game, and as you can see by several posters in this thread, he played well in this system. He wasn't in all star form, but he was gaining back his confidence and playing a solid brand of hockey.

This is where things take a turn, Komisarek is in practice and suffers an "unfortunate" injury - in the words of Randy Carlyle. The speculation at the time was that Komisarek got angry, broke a stick and got a piece of graphite in his eye. There was no speculation as to why he was angry or anything of the sort.

I need to digress for a moment to fully explain this situation. Randy Carlyle REALLY likes having players on their natural side. This was made obvious by Lupul's disagreements with him while in Anaheim. Lupul is right handed, but so is Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. This left Lupul on the third line, and Lupul didn't like it. As soon as Lupul was traded to Toronto he was put on the top line with Kessel, on the left side, and immediately found success. He made a couple comments about it in the press. Another example being Randy Carlyle playing Korbinian Holzer and Mike Kostka for the majority of last season on the top pairing, despite the fact that neither had significant experience in the NHL at any level. Kostka was playing 23-25 minutes a night to start the season. Once he started showing he was clearly being over played, rather then putting Gunnarsson or Liles or any of the other (left handed) defensemen with Phaneuf, Carlyle elected to bring up Korbinian Holzer form the AHL to play on the top pairing. He played well for a couple games and then again proved he was in over his head. At this point, there were no other options and so Carlyle elected to play Gunnarsson on his off side along side Phaneuf. Under Ron Wilson, Phaneuf had played on his off side, while Gunnarsson played on the left. Carlyle saw improvements in Phaneuf's game and wanted to keep him on his natural side.

Back to Komisraek now, he was cleared to play from his injury and most people thought it was a matter of time till he was back in the game. At this same time Liles had also been a healthy scratch in favor of Kostka, Holzer, Franson, Fraser etc. So you had the two vets night in and night out being healthy scratches, for a long period of time. The team was winning, so everyone just chalked it up to a log jam on the defense. Eventually, as explained above, when the Kostka and Holzer experiments both came to an end, Liles was eventually brought in and started playing regularly. This left only Komisarek as the veteran healthy scratch. Keep in mind this is a Randy Carlyle type of player, a guy who wore the A on the team, and a right handed shot that Carlyle desperately needed for his top pairing. This is a perfect storm to turn Komisarek's career around and get him going again but night in and night out, he was consistently scratched.

At this point I thought it went back to the "unfortunate injury". Perhaps Komisarek and Carlyle got into a heated debate and really pissed off Carlyle and now he was paying for his mistake. At this point I thought that was the only logical conclusion. I don't remember exactly how many games it was but it was around 5-10 games after Liles had gone back into the line up and Komisarek was still in the press box, they announced that Komisarek would be sent down to the minors. I felt good for him, even though the team bus ain't the same as chartered flights and first class hotels, at least he's going to get a chance to play. But that wasn't the case, he was scratched for 8 games during the Marlies regular season (out of 15) and scratched for another 3 games in the playoffs.

Is Mike Komisarek really so bad that he's a healthy scratch on a depleted Marlies team? Frattin, Colborne, Kadri, Scrivens, Gardiner, Hamilton, Holzer, Kostka, Komarov, Fraser and Komarov were all on the Leafs roster while Komisarek was being scratched in the AHL. Is he really that bad? Did Carlyle have anything to do with him being a healthy scratch in the minors? I know that's a stretch but all I can do is speculate. There's plenty of HF posters who think Komisarek is just that bad, but that's why I went into detail above explaining why he was bad in Wilson's system but was by all accounts poised to turn things around playing for Carlyle.

Most Leafs fans would say the Leafs biggest needs are finding a stay at home right handed defensemen to play with Phaneuf... is Komisarek not even worth a look at this? I don't know what happened at that practice where the unfortunate injury took place, but I would speculate it was something that pissed off Carlyle something awful, and now out of spite, Komisarek is going to suffer.

My point? No chance Komisarek gets bought out. This rumor of him being bought are only because Nonis said to media in Boston yesterday that it is a "distinct possibility" and reporters are then squared in on Komisarek. However if I had to place a bet, I'd say buying out Komisarek is letting him off the hook and by the way he's been treated lately, I don't think that's in the cards.

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