Mike Komisarek has a lot of heart.
Midway through the second period, Jason Chimera of the Capitals laid out Darryl Boyce with what looked to be a cheap shot elbow to the head. First the elbow, then the shoulder and finally the body slam into the boards left Boyce sprawled and bleeding on the ice.
The refs deemed Chimera’s attack a legitimate hit, and made no call on the play.
Perhaps it was a clean shot, perhaps not.
Certainly the home-crowd Leafs’ fans were mystified at the non-call. Boyce himself was too dazed to even know what hit him, but Komisarek was not fooled. He had trailed the play as Boyce tried to make his way up along the boards, and saw how Chimera had tried to make ground beef out of Boyce’s head.
That was all it took for Komisarek to make a statement. He engaged Chimera on the spot, and immediately started punching.
Chimera didn’t know what hit him. After a few opening swings of his own, the fight quickly became one-sided as the enraged Komisarek abandoned any defensive posturing and pummeled Chimera repeatedly with headshots.
Just to prove the point that you can’t take liberties with his teammates, Komisarek picked the larger Chimera up and dropped him on his back onto the ice.
Normally, this signifies the end of a hockey fight—as any hockey fan knows, once one or both players leave their feet, the fight is over. But this was not a hockey fight to Komisarek; it was a bar brawl, and Komisarek continued to bring a beat down on Chimera even while the linesmen were attempting to separate them.
Had there been any beer bottles nearby, Komisarek would have surely smashed them on Chimera’s head. Had he seen a bar stool, Komisarek would have picked it up and slammed it into the back of his opponent.
Komisarek didn’t care about hockey etiquette; he didn’t care about his own safety; all he wanted to do was seek retribution for a cheap shot dished out to one of his beloved buds.
If you watch the two teams' broadcasts, you’ll get two completely different justifications for the fight.
There is no doubt from watching the play that the fight between Komisarek and Chimera was a direct result of the hit on Boyce, and the Leafs’ broadcasters describe the events as such.
However, at least one of the Capitals' broadcasters had a different point of view, as can be witnessed in the links below. To him, Chimera had started the fight as retribution for prior liberties Komisarek had taken with Brooks Laich.
Fortunately, the Capitals' play-by-play man had a bit more on the ball, saw the play for what it was and corrected the mistake made by the Capitals' colour commentator.
Regardless of which version you saw, one thing that can’t be denied is the voracity with which Komisarek came to the aid of his downed teammate.
Players love a guy like that, coaches love a guy like that and fans should love a guy like that too.
Though Komisarek has been much maligned this year, and his detractors can’t wait to sign his replacement, he does have his positive qualities and he bleeds blue and white. Whether you think Komisarek deserves an “A,” “C” or an “F” for his performance on the year, he deserves to be bumped one full grade higher just for the intangible qualities that his bout against Chimera demonstrated.