Friday, July 1, 2011
No need for patience for Mike Commodore
By Scott Burnside
So, there was Mike Commodore driving in his truck in the beautiful Okanagan area of British Columbia getting ready to fly out of Kelowna when he got a call from his agent, Wade Arnott.
Detroit had offered the veteran defenseman a one-year deal worth $1 million.
Does he want it?
He's got 15 minutes to decide or the Wings will move on.
Commodore, who won a Cup in Carolina in 2006 but was banished to the minors by Columbus last season, pulled his truck over to the side of the road.
He was prepared to be patient, to perhaps wait until August to find a team that might want to give him a chance, and here was an offer on the first afternoon of free agency. And not just an offer, but an offer from one of the most respected teams in the NHL.
"I was like, oh my God," Commodore told ESPN.com Friday night.
He called his dad. His dad wasn't home.
"I was just kind of sitting there in my truck," Commodore said. "It happened fast."
About a minute later, he came up with his answer.
Heck yeah, he's going to Detroit.
"Obviously, it was a no-brainer," said Commodore, who earlier in the day was bought out of the final two years of his contract by the Blue Jackets.
The past two years have been difficult ones for the outgoing Commodore.
The 6-foot-5 defenseman suffered a groin injury and played in only 57 games in the 2009-2010 season . Then last year, he ran afoul of the coaching staff and management in Columbus and was sent to the team's AHL affiliate in Springfield.
"All of a sudden, I'm sitting in Springfield and I'm like, 'what just happened in the last few months?'" Commodore said.
With his time in Columbus at an end, Commodore had to confront the reality that perhaps no one would want him or that his opportunities would be limited at best.
"Fortunately there are still some people that believe in me," he said.
Among them, obviously, is Detroit GM Ken Holland who hopes Commodore will rediscover the kind of play that saw him become an integral part of Carolina's defense by committee during their Cup run in 2006.
"My mindset is that whatever they ask me to do, I'll do," Commodore said.
"Obviously it's exciting. It's a very unexpected surprise. A very unexpected, pleasant surprise."