For those who missed it, Sports Illustrated recently picked a list of “The NHL’s Most Rugged Players.”
No. 12 on this all-encompassing list, none other than Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek. Now for the most part I’ve been a fan of Komisarek. Prior to his crosscheck to the head of Milan Lucic near the end of Game 4 of the Boston Bruins’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Habs (see below), the former Michigan standout has always been a pretty stand-up guy.
So I guess my problem isn’t with the inclusion of Komisarek among this ‘dirty dozen’ of NHL tough guys. It’s the exclusion of Lucic. He might still be just shy of his 21st birthday and have just two seasons of NHL experience under his belt, but isn’t Lucic the epitome of rugged? Never mind the check of Mike Van Ryn through the TD Banknorth Garden glass and the battles with Komisarek. How about Lucic’s undying willingness to fight anyone of any size, unless ordered not to by his coach, and his fierce play in the corners and in front of the net that have made him into a legit top-six forward at the game’s highest level.
Anyway, if only one of Komisarek and Lucic get to be on the list, I’m pretty sure the Bruins’ ‘most rugged’ player took away the title in this November bout that you just can’t watch enough times:
And to see when Komisarek officially stepped over the line from rugged to cheap, here’s a look back at the crosscheck: