I was listening the other day to a sports talk show based out of Toronto and the reporters were going on about Mike Komisarek and how he’s been a disappointment so far. They suggested he’s probably trying to do too much, and hasn’t been everything Leaf supporters thought he would be.
All they had to do was ask Habs fans. We watched on a regular basis the mishaps, miscues, and misfires from this guy. Somehow, the Toronto brass must have missed every single Montreal game played in the past when this guy wore the CH.
This reminds me of the scouting job done by Toronto people in 1972. Leaf head coach John McLellan and head scout Bob Davidson travelled to Russia to check out the Soviet squad before the big Summit Series was about to take place, and came back with this report: The Russians pass the puck too much, don’t shoot enough, and are too small. And their biggest weakness is in goal.
We know what happened later when we saw this team for the first time, and we definitely got to know their goalie, Vladisalv Tretiak, who not only stood on his head in 1972, but proceeded to do so for many years to come. (the 1975 Montreal Canadiens-Red Army game is a perfect example of seeing this guy perform miracles).
So the scouting report by McLellan and Davidson was as wrong as wrong can be.
All Toronto saw about Komisarek was that he was a big hitter, mean sometimes, and would drop the gloves from time to time. He was to be the poster boy for the new, tough Leafs. But somehow they didn’t see the rest of Komisarek – the guy who takes terrible, ill-timed penalties, and who makes such bad decisions with the puck. He should get Christmas cards with a thank-you note from every player on other teams whom he handed the puck to which led to a goal or good scoring chance.
The Leafs couldn’t get it right about the Russians, but maybe Davidson and McLellan were tired after the long plane ride and then a train to Leningrad, and weren’t thinking straight. And Tretiak was getting married the next day so his mind wasn’t on the game when he let in eight goals.
But this is 2009, with new scouts and no overseas travel involved in this decision. Why was Komisarek rated so highly by Toronto brass?