Komisarek out for weeks

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Canadiens will be without their ironman and most physical defenceman as they battle for first place in the Eastern Conference the next two weeks.

Veteran Mike Komisarek is out for the rest of the regular season and may even miss the start of the playoffs with what the team will only call a lower body injury.

"It's never a good time for these type of things," the Canadiens leader in hits (266) and blocked shots (226) said yesterday. "The good news it is that it'll be two or three weeks.

"I'll be in good hands, get good treatment and be back for the playoffs. I'll try to take a positive out of it."

Komisarek left Montreal's game in Boston on Thursday night in the first period and did not return after absorbing at least two big hits. There has been speculation he is suffering from either a groin or a lower back injury.

"You know that at this time of year you can't get into details," the West Islip, N.Y. native said with a laugh.

It's the first major injury of the season for a team whose top skaters have been remarkably healthy. They were without veteran defenceman Roman Hamrlik for five games in January, but that was due to a virus.

Komisarek was told by a team doctor he would miss two or three weeks. Coach Guy Carbonneau said he was out a minimum of three weeks, although Komisarek will be evaluated daily after the second week.

Either way, his streak of 196 consecutive games played dating to the 2005-'06 season ended last night when the Canadiens took on the Bruins.

Forward Guillaume Latendresse was also out with spasms in his neck and is listed as day-to-day.

MILLER GETS RARE BREAK

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- While much of Buffalo spent last weekend enjoying the city's typically rowdy St. Patrick's Day festivities, Ryan Miller quietly took in the parade, had dinner, went home and kicked back on the couch.

"It was fun," the Buffalo Sabres goalie said, fully aware his definition of fun these days differs from the norm. "This is the first extended break I've had in a long, long time. You get it where you can."

For Miller, this was what he called a chance to "check out" on a rare day off -- no practice, game or media commitment -- during a grueling season in which he's had to check in for a career-high 70 games and counting, three short of setting the Sabres' single-season record for appearances by a goalie.

It's a heavy workload for any goalie, never mind a player in only his fourth full NHL season. And it's one that Miller has accepted in his quest to join the league's elite.

"It's a learning curve for sure, and I feel if I can handle the amount of games, and the pressure that comes with playing in this town and being a contender, then that would be a step forward in my career," Miller said, acknowledging he's experienced mental fatigue. "It's the most taxing thing I've done short of the playoffs."

The job is not yet done. With seven games left, Buffalo sits three points behind Boston for the East's final playoff spot.

Miller has done his part in a season in which he's not taken more than one game off at a time and is currently on a 28-game appearance streak, with his last game off coming Jan. 21. Adding to his workload is the Sabres' tough schedule. Prior to last weekend's three-day break, they had played 25 games in 47 days.

Through it all, Miller's numbers have been consistent.


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