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An interview with ‘Admiral’ Mike Commodore

Former Wings defenseman Mike Commodore's lived a "gypsy" existence since his divorce from the Red Wings in 2012, playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs and (Austin) Texas Stars, and then heading all the way to Vladivostok, Russia--a city so "far east" in Russia that it lies northeast of North Korea--spending this past season with the KHL's Vladivostok Admiral.

Commodore addressed his wanderings in an interview with Top Sports Report's Allan Brown, and while the interview isn't Red Wings-related, it's an intriguing read (and it's apparently the first of two interviews with the "cult hero"):

“My decision to give the KHL a try was pretty easy,” he said. “I had no one-way contract offers, so I decided at my age it was time to try something new.

“I have no desire to play in the AHL in my 30s,” Commodore continued. “The AHL is a good league, but it’s a league for prospects. The KHL is the second best league in the world so I figured I would give it a shot. I am happy with the decision I made.”

As for the differences in playing style, Commodore said he learned to adapt, a trait that has served the veteran well throughout his vagabond NHL career.

“The biggest differences were the size of the ice and the style of play,” he said. “The Olympic-size ice just takes some getting used to. I played on it in college so it wasn’t a huge surprise. With my speed, I just needed to play the dots and not run around trying to check people. Let the game come to you.

“The style of play was much more puck possession due partly to the size of the ice,” he continued. “There was not as much dumping and chasing, not quite as physical. Overall, it wasn’t a tough adjustment for me.”

Despite the language barriers inevitable with such a huge move, Commodore said it simply made his stay there more of a challenge.

“Probably the most interesting part of my time in Russia was finding ways to spend my free time,” he said. “Language was definitely a barrier because there wasn’t much English spoken in Vladivostok. You just learn to get by. Translator apps on the smart phones were priceless.”

Commodore and Brown continue, discussing the most recent lockout and his future plans...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


SYF's avatar

The same team as Jan Mursak?

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 06/02/14 at 06:18 PM ET


It’s odd how Commodore seems to be forgotten every time someone lists Ken Holland’s awful record of recent free agent signings…

Posted by Garth on 06/02/14 at 06:26 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Mursak signed with Amur Khabarovsk, which is about 450 miles northwest of Vladivostok, and Mursak ended the year with CSKA Moscow.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/02/14 at 06:45 PM ET


I think because commodore only made a million bucks and in the extremely limited time he was fine as the 6th D. 17 GP 2A and a +3.

Posted by brians neck on 06/02/14 at 11:33 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Commie wasn’t a terrible signing.  Cheap veteran defenseman.  Didn’t work out as well as we might’ve hoped but it wasn’t a high stakes gamble anyway. 

Commodore was meant to fill the 47-year old Chelios/Lilja/Salei spot and he did so, just a good bit worse than Lilja (at his best) or Salei and a bit better than ‘08 Chelios or Bad Lilja.  The big difference was the Wings don’t have a pair of “all situations” pairing to shelter guys any more so they get more exposed and are perceived differently, both good and (mostly) bad.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/03/14 at 11:37 AM ET


Commie wasn’t a terrible signing.

Nobody said he was a terrible signing, but he sure as hell wasn’t a good one.

Holland signed a guy who didn’t want to play for Babcock but still wanted to play in the NHL, and who Babcock clearly didn’t want either, otherwise he would’ve played more than 17 games.  Just like the Tootoo signing, it’s a case of the GM having no idea what the coach wants.  Babcock has been crowing about having a righty on the point for the PP and Holland went out and got possibly two of the worst offensive right handers in the league.

Say what you will about the Weiss signing, but at least it was addressing something that Babcock wanted, which was a second-line centre so that he could put Datsyuk and Zetterberg together.  So far it hasn’t worked out because Weiss is an idiot who kept his injury secret, but that’s not on Holland.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/14 at 12:43 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.