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Komisarek Eager For Start Of New Season

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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By his own admission, Mike Komisarek had a dreadful 2009-2010 season. After signing a free-agent deal with the Leafs, he struggled under the weight of his own expectations. Then came an eight-game layoff due to a leg injury and finally a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Olympics and ended his season January 2.

He had no goals and just four assists in 34 games. More importantly, he was minus nine.

Someone is going to have to pay for that.

“You would not believe how eager and anxious I am to get back to playing,” Komisarek said. “I hate the fact that you are at home watching the guys you compete against in the regular season playing in the playoffs.”

Komisarek threw in the second of last season to have his shoulder ready for this year. The surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews, surgeon to the sports stars, went smoothly. Evidence of this can be found in Komisarek’s choice of recreation last week. He spent Friday golfing with Leafs Luca Caputi, John Mitchell and up-and-coming club employee Jason Schwabe.

“The shoulder feels great,” he said. “I am ahead of schedule. It’s been five months since the surgery and they set certain benchmarks. I am way ahead of that.”

A healthy Komisarek would be a significant boost to a blueline corps already bolstered by the acquisition of bruising Dion Phaneuf last season and the off-season signing of the speedy Brett Lebda from Detroit.

Phaneuf, one of the game’s top open-ice hitters will team with Komisarek, a six-foot-four, 243-pound behemoth to give the Leafs the truculence they have long coveted around their net.

Komisarek said he can’t wait to play with the newly-christened captain.
“Dion brings that confidence to the dressing room,” Komisarek said. “He outgoing, he likes to talk and he’s going to be a great leader.

“On the ice, opposing players need to know a guy is a bit wacko, a little unpredictable. That’s a great thing to bring to the ice.”

Komisarek said he learned a great deal about himself through the frustrations of the early season and agreed with the criticism that he was too anxious to show well.

“Last year, I came in as a free agent, you put the weight of the world on yourself, but what your team really needs is for you to do your job. This year I am going to play my role.”

Part of that role is off the ice, where Komisarek is among the busiest Leafs. One of his causes is fund- raising for research into pancreatic cancer, the disease that killed his mother Kathy in 2006. She was 52.

“Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer in North America and there is no early detection, treatment or cure,” he said. “It was a very difficult time for our family. You hate to see someone you love so much suffer.”

To that end, Komisarek has been active on Twitter.

“I think Twitter is a great place to be, to lend a little of the spotlight to various charities and to connect with fans,” he said.

“The first time I looked I had 200 followers. The next time I had 4,000.”

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