Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/10/14
Leo Komarov's KHL club had one flight this season of the marathon variety, precisely the kind of tiresome experience that has the former Leaf winger reconsidering his career status. “It took us 12 hours or something,” he said of the near 10,000 kilometre flight from Moscow to Vladivostok, quick to mention the one stop required to refuel along the way. It may not be in Toronto, but Komarov seems to have his sights set on a return to the NHL next season. The 27-year-old had his first (and long-desired) taste of the league in 2013 – calling it “probably the best time of my life” – before returning to Dynamo of the KHL last summer for reasons both financial and otherwise. “I want to get back,” Komarov said of the NHL. “It's a big goal for me for next season. [But] I'm going to see how it's going to work out. Dynamo is playing pretty good right now so it's like everything is good there too, but I really enjoyed it in Toronto. It was really good.” Komarov played in 42 games with the Leafs and was the pesky, agitating force the organization hoped he'd become when they drafted him in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. But with the lure of a hefty one-year contract in Moscow and more opportunity ahead of the Olympics this winter, Komarov chose to leave Toronto after just one season. “No hard feelings against Toronto,” he said. “I really enjoyed it. Everything was good, but Dynamo gave me a really good offer.” More money than a cap-strapped Leafs brass was prepared or even able to pay this past summer. But just as important as the dollars gained by returning to Russia was the chance to play big minutes with a powerhouse squad in Dynamo. And with keen hopes of representing Finland for the first time on the Olympic stage here in Sochi, Komarov wanted to ensure his best was on display as often as possible. “I need to play a lot to make this team for Olympics and I knew I'm going to get a lot of ice-time in Dynamo,” said Komarov following practice with a trimmed down Finnish Olympic squad, NHL players yet to arrive on this day. “You go in the NHL and play on the fourth line – five, six minutes – it's hard. I wanted to make 100 per cent sure that I'm going to make the team. “Maybe the contract situation was a little bit [a reason] too. It was a hard decision, like I want to play in NHL, but what happened happened.”
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