Komisarek won’t face former team

Posted by Chip Alexander on October 17, 2013 

TORONTO Defenseman Mike Komisarek will not be in the Canes' lineup against his former team Thursday as coach Kirk Muller has elected to keep Brett Bellemore in the lineup.

Komisarek has been a healthy scratch for six of the seven games this season, playing effectively in his one outing against the Los Angeles Kings. It would have been easy to make the switch and put him the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that signed him to a big free-agent contract in 2009.

"We feel very comfortable with where he's at," Muller said Thursday. "It's building blocks with him and regaining his confidence. In his last game he played well.

"But you have to look at the big picture as a team right now. Mike's going to get back in. He's been a great team guy with us so far. It's not tonight but he'll be back soon."

Bellemore struggled Sunday in the 5-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes -- not that he was the only one -- and was used for one third-period shift Tuesday in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. But Muller will keep him in the defensive pairing with Ron Hainsey.

"He's played well and has been a nice surprise," Muller said. "He had a tough game a couple of games ago. But it was too early for us to feel we wanted to pull him. You go against Chicago and that's a tough team for him to bounce back against.

"But we're showing faith in him. We'll stay with it. He's an Ontario boy and I'm sure he'll be excited to play here."

In Thursday's morning skate, the lines had Eric Staal centering Tuomo Ruutu and Alex Semin; Jordan Staal at center with Jiri Tlusty and Nathan Gerbe; Riley Nash centering Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak, and Pat Dwyer at center with Drayson Bowman and Kevin Westgarth. Brett Sutter was the extra forward. Rookie Elias Lindholm, who has an upper-body injury, also skated.

The other defensive pairs were Justin Faulk-Andrej Sekera and Jay Harrison-Ryan Murphy. Cam Ward will be in goal against the Leafs (6-1-1).

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said forward James van Riemsdyk would not play because of a back issue. The Canes expect to see goalie James Reimer for the Leafs.

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