Leo Komarov via Wikimedia commons
An interview with Leafs fourth liner Leo Komarov popped up in Sport RU this morning. Pension Plan Puppets has a translation, where on first glance it appears that the Maple Leafs may lose their pesky Uncle Leo to the KHL and Dynamo Moscow:
– Maybe it’s time to come back to Dynamo?
– My contract with Toronto is over. There are negotiations about coming back to Dynamo. Maybe. Or I could go to Australia, I think there’s a hockey league, too.
That doesn’t really pass the smell test, however.
I fired off an email to our buddy Andrey Osadchenko, who knows Komarov and enough about the Russian press to know that a lot of interviews are set up to get catchy quotes rather than to learn anything about the player or game. Here’s what Andrey has to say:
Reporter tried to provoke him to say Leo wasn’t happy with the Leafs. Leo said he was really happy and blah-blah-blah. Reporter asked if Leo thought it was time for him to come back to Dynamo. Leo laughed and said ‘Maybe. Or maybe I should sign in Australia. I hear they have a hockey league there, too’.
“It was quite clearly a joke” Andrey said in a follow-up message.
Komarov’s a good guy to have around. He won’t score 20 goals anytime soon, but Komarov can kill penalties and has filled in on the checking line. He can also take the odd faceoff, but it’s sort of redundant when he plays on a line with Jay McClement, since both are left shooters.
I haven’t done the leg-work to figure out exactly how valuable Komarov is, but he’s probably anywhere between $1M and $1.5M, a little better than replacement because he’s close to average defensively. Still, I don’t think Komarov has come to the NHL in his rookie year, didn’t like what he saw, and is going to bolt immediately to Russia. Sarcasm doesn’t come across well in translations, and the joke becomes obvious when Leo starts talking about the Australian league.