The two weeks from June 28 through July 11 are Rivalry Weeks across SB Nation! We’re exploring all things rivalry, starting with a personal feud that boiled over on many, many occasions.
Milan Lucic had plenty of enemies during his time with the Bruins.
Ryan Miller comes to mind, as do some of the guys Lucic speared in, uh...sensitive regions.
Still, those enemies pale in comparison to Milan Lucic’s one true enemy: Mike Komisarek.
Lucic and Komisarek didn’t like each other. Like really, really, REALLY didn’t like each other.
Their personal rivalry mirrored the late-2000’s heating up of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. The teams met in the playoffs in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and Komisarek was on the Habs for two of those match-ups.
It didn’t help that after leaving Montreal, Komisarek ended up in Toronto, of all places, right as the Bruins-Maple Leafs rivalry started to become a thing again.
Anyways, Komisarek always irritated Lucic, and while Lucic wasn’t exactly a tough guy to irritate, Komisarek always seemed to get under his skin.
With Lucic starting to become a force to be reckoned with in 2008, the Habs did a great job of getting him off his game. At one point, they had enforcer Georges Laraque follow Lucic around for nearly an entire game, trying to get him to fight. Safe to say, he was in their heads.
Still, it always came back to Komisarek. It seemed to irritate Lucic even more that Komisarek would never actually fight him. It’s not hard to see why: Lucic was a better fighter, and it was more worth it for the Habs to try to goad Lucic into taking a dumb penalty.
There was also stuff like this:
After what seemed like an endless string of games declining a fight, Komisarek finally obliged Lucic early in the 2008-2009 season.
It became clear pretty quickly why Komisarek had avoided the fight for so long.
You can see from his reaction that this was more than just an in-game scrap for Lucic. He was usually pretty fired up during fights, but that reaction was something else.
You’d think some kind of cathartic beating like that would be the end of things, but it wasn’t.
The rivalry continued to simmer throughout that season, and it was still pretty fiery when the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins would pummel the Canadiens in that series, a 4-game sweep. Lucic and Komisarek’s next coming-together was pretty senseless from Komisarek’s perspective.
You have to give him some credit for trying, but this fight came in the dying minutes of the second period of a 4-1 game in a series where his team was down 3 games to none. This really wasn’t even a fight, but interestingly, it would mark the end of the Montreal chapter of the Lucic-Komisarek feud.
After this season, Komisarek would move a province over, signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs weren’t very good back then, but they were getting there. It’d be a few years before the Bruins would meet the Leafs in the playoffs, but there was a little friction between the teams.
Komisarek did, for the most part, learn his 2008-2009 lesson. He continued to annoy Lucic whenever possible, but managed to stay away from his fists for a couple of years.
Still, like most rivals, the two guys simply couldn’t stay away from each other forever.
In 2012, Komisarek decided to give it another shot, and well...you know the rest.
Over the course of their rivalry, the pair had 2 real fights, plus the playoff dust-up shown above that was kind of a fight, but not really.
They had probably 10 times as many run-ins, facewashes, shoves, penalties taken, penalties drawn...you name it, they had it.
You could say this rivalry was a little one-sided because Komisarek never really even came close to winning one of the fights, but he definitely evened the score a bit with the penalties drawn or with just getting Lucic off his game.
Komisarek does deserve a little credit for fighting Lucic twice. While the two guys are similar in size, Lucic is much more of a fighter than Komisarek ever was.
The back-and-forth between these two was one of the most entertaining parts of what was a few years of very entertaining Bruins-Canadiens match-ups.
There have been some good individual beefs with some Bruins in recent years too (Jake DeBrusk and Nazem Kadri come to mind), but this one stands alone.
It was game after game of intense rivalry between not just these two players, but their respective teams as well.
Plus, a little hatred is part of what makes the games fun, right?