Mike Komisarek a healthy scratch
TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
|The Leafs are catching a Senators team that has struggled recently, losers of their past five games, including a 2-1 overtime loss against the New York Islanders on Friday night at home. - QMI Agency
For Mike Komisarek, it was the Idle of Ontario.
The Maple Leafs defenceman was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game and fourth time this season on Saturday night when the Leafs clashed with the Ottawa Senators.
“There are two ways you could react,” Komisarek said in a deserted dressing room long after his teammates caught the bus back to the hotel following the morning skate. “You could hang your head and pout, be an energy suck, or you could try to work your way back in and make sure you are ready to go when the opportunity comes.
“It’s not an easy thing, but it is one of those things you have to work through.”
Komisarek certainly has not been terrible in the 27 games he has played in. His benching was more about the depth the Leafs have on the blue line.
“Somebody has to sit out,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “We have a top-four group and we will have three guys alternating. We consider ourselves pretty deep on the back end.”
Based on minutes played, those three are Komisarek, Cody Franson and Luke Schenn. But Wilson likes the pairing of Franson and John-Michael Liles, so it’s probably more between Schenn and Komisarek.
When it comes to making a decision on who sits, it’s a gut feel for Wilson, more or less.
“There is no way to explain it,” Wilson said. “I don’t think any coach can ever explain who is in and who is out or anything like that other than you have a feeling on certain nights, or someone is not playing well.”
Komisarek, making $5.5 million US this season, had prepared on Friday like he would be playing.
“They told me right before I stepped on the ice (Saturday) morning I wasn’t going to be playing,” Komisarek said. “When you find out, you are a little bit emotional, but when you calm down, you realize we are all in this together. Nothing has changed for me. I want to get in the playoffs, be a part of that.
“I have to make sure that the coaches have that confidence in me and that is by working hard and pushing myself in practice and stuff like that.
“We have eight quality NHL defencemen (including Keith Aulie, who was sent back to the Marlies) and everybody wants to be playing and contributing, and making the push for the playoffs here. You can only dress six guys, and the situation is not ideal.”