The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/28/12 at 08:04 PM ET
While the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets minus the services of one Nick Lidstrom about an hour from now, the man who may have been in the Wings’ lineup tonight—alongside a player who’d been called up to “replace” him in Brendan Smith—is instead debuting for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This is a Red Wings blog, but as Wings fans like you and me tended to get to like @Commie22 during his short time spent in Detroit, mostly needling Cory Emmerton and occasionally dropping the gloves while providing blue-collar efforts on defense, Commodore spoke to NHL.com’s Lonnie Herman about playing under Tesla coils tonight, and I guess this is the socially awkward blogger’s version of a “shout-out” to a superbly good citizen to thank him for his time with the Wings. Keep in mind that Ken Holland very knowingly moved Commodore for that very reason, and that’s why Commodore’s grateful to have a fighting chance to extend his NHL career:
“Things didn’t work out in Detroit, I wasn’t getting an opportunity at all, so I’m appreciative that they cut me loose and gave me a chance to play,” Commodore said. “I’m not 22 years old anymore, I’m 32. I’d like to play a few more years if I can, and in order to do that I have to play some games.”
He’ll get that opportunity with the Lightning, who are short players on the blue line. Victor Hedman missed two months with a concussion and returned to the lineup, but was re-injured and is undergoing evaluation for another concussion, while Mattias Ohlund won’t play at all this season after knee surgery. Marc-Andre Bergeron remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
“The whole idea behind Commodore, first of all we need a defenseman and we don’t know if Bergeron and Hedman are coming back this year. We’ll see,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “Obviously Ohlund hasn’t played a game and won’t play a game this year. So Commodore was a guy with a lot of experience, a big body, and we need more size.”
For his part, Commodore appears ready to do whatever is asked of him.
“I expect to bring some experience and a little bit of size on the back line,” he said. “I’m going to try to be physical. I’m not going to try to do anything different than I always have; get the puck out. If they want me to kill some penalties, I’ll kill some penalties. I just want to be a solid player.”
Unlike Lee, who is 24 and Aulie, 22, Commodore’s future with the Lightning is far from assured. That’s something the veteran is well aware of.
“I’m looking forward to coming in here and contributing and doing the best I can to help this team win,” Commodore said. “It’s 20 big games for me and I’d like to get better with each one. Tonight’s going to be a grind, there’s no doubt about it, but I just want to try to get through tonight as best as possible and try to get better every game.”
Good luck, “Commie.”
Update: Here’s what Commodore had to say to the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson:
For Commodore, his move to Tampa Bay is one that will allow the veteran to gain some playing time as he gets set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He has appeared in just 17 games this season with the Red Wings, but his last game was on Feb. 6.
“Things didn’t work out in Detroit. I didn’t get much of a chance at all, so I’m appreciative and it was nice of (Red Wings’ general manager) Ken (Holland) to cut me loose and let me get a chance to play,’’ Commodore said. “I’m not 22 years old any more; I’m turning 33 next year and I’d like to play a few more years if I can and in order for me to do that I need to play some games.’‘
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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.