Leo Komarov was a unique addition to the Leafs last season, and this site lucky enough to get a unique opportunity with him.
Tomas Kmec, a young hockey reporter from Slovakia, was recently at a few western conference KHL games, including Lev Prague hosting Leo Komarov’s team Dynamo Moscow in the Czech Republic. Tomas approached me last week, offering to interview some KHL players for us at TLN, including Komarov, former Leaf Tim Brent, and former Leaf Ryan O’Byrne. All he asked for was that we give him credit. Please give Tomas a follow. We wouldn’t have these interviews without him.
Here’s Tomas’ interview with Komarov on the Leafs, Mikhail Grabovski, Randy Carlyle, Dallas Eakins, and more.
You registered another assist tonight (Komarov has 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 9 games this season). Are you surprised at how well you’ve done so far?
Yeah. When I came back to Dynamo I knew that I’d have a big role here. Play a lot of minutes. And they’re expecting a lot from me, so I have to produce.
What are the biggest differencies between the KHL and the NHL both on the ice and culutrally?
It’s a big difference. There’s nothing bad to say about the NHL. Everything is so good. Airplanes, equipment, rinks, fans. The KHL is coming up though. The hockey is different, too.
Do you see yourself rejoining the Leafs eventually?
Oh, it’s not about me. If they’re going to offer me a contract, I will. I’ve got some troubles in the summer during the signing period, and Dynamo really wanted me. So yeah, hopefully I’ll be back there but you never know.
The Leafs made the playoffs after nine years. Fans were going crazy, it was a long wait for them. What are your favorite memories from last year? You played for three different teams (The Leafs, Marlies, and Dynamo Moscow).
I have pretty good memories. All the guys I met, our coacing staff. It was unbelievable for me to see how some of the great players in the NHL work. Toronto is probably the best city to come to play in. It was great.
What were your thoughts on falling out between Grabovski and coach Carlyle?
I read about it but there’s a lot of emotion and I have nothing to say about it. I don’t know the situation well enough.
Were you friends with Mikhail?
Yeah, he was a good friend. But I can`t say anything about the situation. I liked the coach and I like telling you about how Toronto was the best place for me.
And what about coach Carlyle?
He’s kind of like our Dynamo coach (Oleg Znarok). An older guy, a lot of hard practices, but really good.
What can you tell me about Dallas Eakins, the coach you played under for the Marlies?
I think he’s one of the best coaches I’ve played under. He really wants to help his players. He can get mad at you but he’s still trying to help you. I’ve know him a long time since he went to Finland during the Tampere Cup (2007). What can I say? I wish him all the best. He’s gonna be good for them.
Who were you roommates with?
And did you like it?
Yeah, he’s a funny guy.
So who had the remote control?
He did (laugh).
You’re wearing no. 87 (on Dynamo), for the Leafs you wore no. 47, and no. 71 for the [Finnish] national team. Do those numbers have any special meaning for you?
No. 87 is my number, I’ve always been wearing it in the KHL. For the national team they just gave me no. 71. And in Toronto I got no. 47. I don’t care about the number.
You’ve always played the role of a pest. Somebody who’s constantly trying to get under other people’s skin. I wonder if it`s something you`ve learned to do over the years or something that comes naturally with your personality. Do you enjoy this brand of hockey?
I enjoy it, yes. It’s my style. But I can play hockey too. Now I can play a lot of hockey here, get more ice-time. I was happy with the TOI I got in the NHL. The smaller rink benefited my style, I liked that.
Have you always dreamed of playing in the NHL?
Yeah, of course. I think it’s everybody’s dream and I’ll hopefully be back there.
If I recall, you and Niklas Kronwall were the only guys wearing a visor like a hat. In the KHL and following the IIHF rules, you must wear a visor. Visors are becoming mandatory in the NHL but last year they weren’t. Why did you wear it like that? Weren`t you concerned about getting injured because of that?
No. I have a problem with a visor, I don’t see through it, so I have to put it up a little bit more. The refs are all over me (smile) but I don`t do it for fun. I just need to see better.
I saw your picture with Vinny Jones yesterday. You met him here in Prague. Are you a big fan of his movies?
I’ve been here a lot, playing in the European Hockey Tour. Recently I was here two weeks ago with Team Finland. I like the city very much. And yeah, Vinny Jones is a good guy. I can`t say I’m a big fan but I’ve seen his movies (smile).
This will also be your second time in Bratislava. You won a gold medal in 2011 WCH there. I’m sure going there on Monday will bring back some great memories as well.
I’ve thought about it today too. It`s gonna be nice. But we have some problems here in Dynamo, so I’m trying to focus on fixing those first.
Thanks for reading! We will post the Tim Brent and Ryan O’Byrne interviews soon.