Commodore lets his hair down

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

The Flames' hard hat Mike Commodore once squeezed over his Afro is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and so is the robe he modelled during last spring's Cup run in Carolina.

He set an unofficial record for days spent partying with the Cup, signed his first multi-million dollar contract and has responded by scoring the most points and logging the second-most minutes among Hurricanes d-men.

A lot has changed for Mike Commodore since the Flames' 2004 playoff run when the awkward-skating giant became the most popular eighth defenceman in NHL lore. One thing that hasn't is his lid, which will soon start sprouting orange, Chia-like properties a la Ogie Oglethorpe.

"I have to. I think I'd get traded if I don't grow my hair," said the 27-year-old blueliner, wearing a grin that could be spotted at nightclubs all over town during the Flames' run.

"Honestly. I could show up to camp in any condition and I could have the worst game but as long as I grow my hair out, (the fans) are happy. It's an every year thing now."

Currently sporting a high-and-tight 'do, Commodore vows not to cut his locks until his season is done. Given the way he and his Hurricanes have been playing of late, that could be quite a while.

He returns to the 'Dome tonight for the first time since Game 4 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, when he was used sparingly.

"I touched the ice four times maybe," laughed Commodore, who thinks Flames faithful will have a tough time believing he's logging as many minutes (21) as Jarome Iginla nightly.

"For whatever reason, things have clicked with me in Carolina. My skating just kind of came around, the game came easier and I'm able to play more minutes."

He scores more points, too, as the 6-ft. 5-in., 225-lb. Fort Saskatchewan native has two goals and 11 assists -- just two points fewer than the Flames' top blueliner, Dion Phaneuf.

Commodore's blueline partner Bret Hedican would like to point something out.

"We've been giving him (a tough time) because he's wrapped it around the boards a couple times and the guys go down and score and he gets the assist," laughed Hedican.

"Hey, he's got a collegiate national championship and a Stanley Cup and if you've got both of those, you're doing something right. Plus, he's a really likable guy.

I don't think I've ever seen him have a bad day. An easy-go-lucky attitude like his will take you a long way."

Took him all the way from Lowell, Mass. -- where the Hurricanes 'discovered' him during the lockout -- to hockey glory.

"If you would have told me when I got traded I was going to be a big part of a team and win a Stanley Cup in my first year, I might have looked at you funny," said Commodore, originally saddened by the 2005 trade.

Sad no more, his personality and play last spring prompted fans to wear robes and wigs in his honour.

"I don't have my robe any more -- it was covered in booze and I didn't know what to do with it, so the Cup guy took it to the Hall of Fame," said Commodore, who spent nine days partying with the Stanley Cup before inking a two-year deal worth $2.5 million.

"My attitude was if it was possible for me to make it to one of the guy's parties, I was going. I would have hit more but when August hit,

I said, 'Enough, I just signed a new contract and I need to earn my money.' "

And that's exactly what he's doing.


Videos

Photos