Leo Komarov wants back in the NHL, and if it were up to him he’d suit up with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Now plying his trade in the KHL with Dynamo Moscow, the Finnish pest wants to return to the team he played for during the lockout-shortened season.
“I enjoyed it there, it was probably the best time of my life,” Komarov told KHL.hr. “I was really happy to play with the Leafs and I hope they are going to take me back, but you never know what's going to happen. They hold my rights until July and I would love to get an offer from the Leafs.”
While he plays top-six minutes in the KHL, Komarov insists his diminished role on the Leafs wasn’t a factor in his decision to return to Russia.
“I’m not that kind of a player,” he said. “Everything was good with the Leafs and I really enjoyed it there. But I didn’t get the offer I maybe wanted, and I wanted to play a lot of minutes over here (in the KHL) because it's an Olympic year and I knew that if I came back to Dynamo I’d get a lot of ice time. It’s hard to say really, I liked the team, the city, everything – coming back (to Russia) was a hard decision.”
NEUVIRTH’S AGENT STIRS POT
It’s been a rollercoaster stint in Washington for Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Every time he gets an opportunity to seize the No. 1 job, something gets in the way.
Now, his agent is pleading for the Caps to trade his client.
“I want Michal out of Washington,” Patrik Stefan told NBC Washington.
Neuvirth hasn’t dressed for an NHL game since Nov. 29 when he stepped on a puck and injured his Achilles during warmups.
The Caps called up Philipp Grubauer as a result of the injury and have been riding the rookie’s hot hand (5-1-2, 2.02 goals against average, .937 save percentage), keeping starter Braden Holtby on the bench and Neuvirth on the outside looking in.
“It obviously doesn't seem like he's getting a chance to play and sitting in the stands doesn't do anything good for the club and obviously Michal,” Stefan said.
Neuvirth seemingly won the starting job July 1, 2011 when the Caps traded Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, the club signed veteran Tomas Vokoun the next day.
After Vokoun suffered an injury, Neuvirth appeared to grasp the No. 1 job until he went down with an injury late in the season and Holtby led the Caps into the playoffs and has been the starter ever since.
THREE U.S. GOALIES
Team USA’s trio of goalies for the Olympics appears to be set.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard, along with Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, will sport stars and stripes in Sochi.
Other goalies thought to be in contention were Ottawa Senators goalkeeper Craig Anderson, New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ben Bishop.
Miller led the U.S. to silver at the Vancouver Games.
Olympic rosters will be announced Jan. 1.
Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., is the favourite spot to host the 2015 Winter Classic, according to multiple reports ... Phoenix Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule was suspended by the team after failing to report to his AHL assignment in Portland, according to the Arizona Republic ... Colorado Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau will miss six weeks with a knee injury ... San Jose Sharks rookie Thomas Hertl will have knee surgery Tuesday, according to CSN Bay Area ... New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal will return to the lineup Tuesday after suffering a concussion Dec. 7.