Has there ever been a player in NHL history less deserving of the resume he carries around with him than Mike Komisarek?
1) $4.5 million a year
2) Starting All-Star
The previous bout of extreme nepotism that led to Komisarek's All-Star farce was widely criticised by those around the league. At least that was an exhibition game.
Brian Burke's latest manoeuver to include our 4th defenceman on what he must hop will be a 7th place contending team, just about tops it. Burke, you see, is charged with selecting a team to win, not one to skate in Montreal for a gala appearance.
I am no expert in Team USA defencemen, but I have been reading around a bit and have come to the conclusion that Komisarek with his limited use and worse stats than Luke Schenn probably isn't worthy of the Olympic experience with a team that's vying for a medal.
I look at Kukla's Corner and can see a few choices that seem like instant alternatives: Alex Goligoski, Ryan Whitney, Andy Greene. Tyler Myers also comes to mind. Heck, what do we know, maybe playing on the worst defensive team in the NHL gives you some unknown advantage...
USA a sideshow
Besides Komisarek, the USA team selection overall means that the US team will likely be a sideshow at this Olympics. One can talk about a youth movement, but a team that plays 4 games together every four years aren't going to gain much from this Olympics for the next ones in Russia that they couldn't earn in an NHL playoff series. In fact, it's that NHL playoff experience that is sorely lacking in Burke's selections.
How does Burke explain leaving out Jason Pominville? Brian Gionta? He doesn't.
It's a shame that Burke has missed this opportunity to select his most competitive outfit without an ego or two getting in the way. This Olympics plays out in prime time for the US television audience. If the team learns how to play hockey instead of impressing with wins, the opportunity to use this Olympics as a launchpad for NHL popularity in the markets starving for fans will be lost.
The next Olympics, when the games take place on the shores of the Caspian, may well feature a better American team. But tell me, do these casual American fans love their hockey enough to skip work? To get up early to catch a game? Hmm...
Anyway, enough fretting on the Leafs of the Olympics. Well done to Komi on adding another conspicuous line to a CV that looks never to include his goal of "Best NHL defenceman" anytime soon.