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Komarov Clicking In Islanders Room

Islanders embracing Komarov's unique, funny personality in the locker room

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

Leo Komarov was in Finland when he signed his four-year deal with the New York Islanders over the summer, so he asked Matt Martin to do him a favor. 

Komarov asked Martin, who was back on Long Island and two days away from being re-acquired by the Islanders, to go check out an apartment for him. Martin, the Island's de facto Mayor, obliged and gave Komarov the thumbs up to buy the place after a quick visit. 

"Some people buy places without ever seeing them in person, apparently," Martin said. "That's Leo Komarov for you right there." 

Martin was happy to help. He likes Komarov because apparently everyone does. Komarov was a popular teammate during his five years in Toronto and is quickly becoming a low-key favorite inside the Isles room. 

"Guys love him," Auston Matthews told Spittin' Chiclets on Oct. 1. "He's another guy who's super popular in the room and he does some crazy stuff… He's an unbelievable guy, definitely out there, but he's hilarious though. Great guy to have on your team."

Why low key? That's just how Komarov comes across. He is often one of the last Islanders to leave the locker room after practice, more than content to lounge in his stall. It's appreciated by Robin Lehner, who sits directly across from him at Northwell Health Ice Center, and enjoys his post-practice coffee. Lehner says not enough guys like to just sit in the room anymore after practice. Komarov posts up like he's waiting for a delayed flight. 

Mathew Barzal has taken a liking to Komarov, as the 21-year-old and Finnish vet are locker stallmates on the road. Ask Barzal, who lived with another laid-back, well-liked vet in Dennis Seidenberg last year, about Komarov and he grins. 

"This guy literally has me laughing, almost in tears every day," Barzal said. "Just honestly a great guy to have, so good for the locker room. We're lucky to have him."

So would Barzal call Komarov a prankster or a chirper? 

"The antagonizer," Barzal said.

Martin confirms that. Komarov may come across as soft-spoken, but Martin said that the 31-year-old Finn is quick to chirp. 

"He's always running his mouth," Martin said with a smile. "I always joke with him that when I went to Toronto he was the loudmouth, always giving it to me, all the guys, the new guys. When he came here, I gave it right back to him." 

Komarov is settling in on Long Island, which Martin said will only lead to more shenanigans. 

"Pretty funny guy in the dressing room," Martin said. "He's starting to loosen up a little bit now, took a little while, but he's quite the character in the room, that's for sure."

Video: NYI@PHI: Komarov tips in Pelech's shot from the point

He's found a way to make an impact on his coach as well. Komarov redirected an Adam Pelech shot for his second goal of the season on Saturday in Philadelphia and Barry Trotz said he likes the example Komarov sets. 

"You talk about doing your job, he does his job, he plays his role and there's no grey area," Trotz said. "He plays with a little bit of an edge and he's got just a good presence about him, a good pro."
A good presence, that seems to be a good way to sum up how the Isles feel about Komarov. 

"He's hilarious. Just his attitude. He's positive, he's funny and he works hard," Barzal said. "I don't think you could ask for too many better traits in a teammate."

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