Memo to Habs Fans: Komisarek Pwns You

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, “Homosarek.”-- 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 Canadiens’ defensemen in terms of defensive statistics--except for +/-, which is generally a team stat, and I don’t have to show you where the Leafs are currently positioned in that regard.

Let’s take a look at hits:

Komisarek -- ranked 26th in the National Hockey League with 36 in 13 games.
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Hal Gill -- ranked 177th in the NHL with 17 in 14 games.

Blocked shots:

Komisarek -- ranked 11th in the NHL with 35.
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Josh Gorges -- ranked 16th in the NHL with 33 in 15 games.

Giveaways:

Komisarek -- ranked 9th in the NHL with 18.
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Roman Hamrlik -- ranked 1st in the NHL with 23 in 14 games.

Gill -- ranked 2nd in the NHL with 21.

Jaroslav Spacek -- ranked 4th in the NHL with 21 in 15 games.

Takeaways:

Komisarek: ranked 282nd in the NHL with 4.
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Spacek: ranked 52nd in the NHL with 10.

Hamrlik: ranked 220th in the NHL with 5.

The only statistic the Canadiens’ defensemen have over Komisarek is takeways--and the aforementioned +/-. While Komisarek doesn’t lead by a wide margin in the other categories, it’s worth mentioning that he has played less games.

The point of this is not to criticize Montreal’s defence, it’s to simply put some perspective behind Komisarek’s play. While I understand the animosity the former Hab has generated in Montreal--he did leave to play for the team’s most hated rival, after all-- some of the criticism he has received is downright ludicrous.

Komisarek is not playing up to his standards, and any Leafs fan will attest to that, but he has been progressively improving as the season moves along. Not to mention Vesa Toskala is not between the pipes as frequently, which means a dramatic drop in goals against.

Komisarek  also has another invaluable quality, but it’s one that doesn’t appear on the stats sheet. And that’s leadership. Each and every game the Leafs lose, which is 99% of the time, the 27-year-old defender is found confronting the media and answering any questions thrown his way. He’s a character player who’s willing to defend his teammates should problems ensue.

Although Habs fans hate to admit it, Komisarek was pronounced by many as the next Montreal Canadiens’ captain if he would have signed an extension with the club in the off-season. It’s feasible that Komisarek may become the next Leafs captain by the time December comes, but he’ll have to keep improving his play if that is to transpire.

That said, if you want to rip Komisarek, Habs fans, just make fun of him for getting pulverized by Milan Lucic on two separate occasions last season. As far as his on-ice performance is concerned, I think it’s time you lighten up on the criticism and worry about your own Markov-less defense.

ronguillet@gmail.com