February 4, 2010
Komisarek through for seasonShoulder surgery for Leaf defenceman
By LANCE HORNBY , QMI Agency
The Maple Leafs and Team USA will both have to get by without Mike Komisarek.
Hoping to get late clearance from a nagging shoulder injury to play for his country at the Olympics, the Toronto defenceman instead found out Wednesday night he will have to undergo season-ending surgery at a later date.
Already out a month -- he was hurt in a Jan. 2 game in Calgary, the day after being named to Team USA -- Komisarek will miss Toronto's final 25 games. He was at practice as recently as Wednesday, hoping an afternoon test would result in better news.
"Our team doctors have recommended this after a determined effort to rehab the injury without surgery," Komisarek said in a release. "Having this done immediately is the right thing to do for the Leafs. I am truly sorry that I will not be able to represent my country at the Olympics."
Thus ends a disappointing first year in Toronto for Komisarek, who played in 34 games with three assists and 40 penalty minutes.
Meanwhile, Leafs coach Ron Wilson was still trying out all his new toys Wednesday at the Mastercard Centre, though he wouldn't be surprised if Leafs GM Burke gives him a couple of more, either by the Olympic roster freeze next weekend or the NHL trade deadline on March 3.
"The new guys helped, but it was just a different environment," Wilson said of a 3-0 win over New Jersey on Wednesday, with Dion Phaneuf, J-S Giguere and Fredrik Sjostrom all making their Leafs debuts. "The change with the shoe on the other foot dropping a little bit made other guys relax. But we had young people (Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak) who haven't had a lot of opportunity and they took advantage."
Burke will be hard-pressed to top Sunday's twin deals, but he still has UFAs such as Alexei Ponikarovsky, Lee Stempniak and defenceman Garnet Exelby, while defenceman Jeff Finger is gathering dust in the press box.
"We'll definitely make some changes before the deadline on March 3," Burke repeated. "I don't think we'll do anything (like Sunday). We put six guys on an airplane. I don't think we'll do that again soon."
The Devils' game marked just the second time in 42 matches that the Leafs had a "perfect game" on special teams, at least one power-play goal and none given up by the NHL's worst penalty-killing unit.
"It wasn't the No. 1 power-play unit that scored," noted Wilson of Francois Beauchemin's goal, "but it was nice. Once we practise the power play with Dion as the focal point, it will be just a matter of timing, finding out where he is and where Phil Kessel is. Phil won't be the focal point any more. It'll be spread out."
- With files from Brett Clarkson