La Presse is reporting in its Friday edition that the Kostitsyn brothers and Roman Hamrlik are being linked to an alleged mobster who was picked up in a recent police sweep in the Montreal area.
RDS has summed up the story on its website, but notes that no arrests were made at the airport when the Canadiens plane arrived from Pittsburgh. The rumour mill had been churning at full speed over the past few hours about what this possible bombshell might be, but the lack of arrests being made tonight may mean it's not as serious as it's being made out to be.
For those who don't read French, the report states that Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn apparently have a link to one Pasquale Mangiola, who was arrested during the police sweep and charged with drug trafficking. He's suspected of serving as an intermiedary between several organized crime groups.
Police recorded phone conversations Mangiola had and several of those were with the Kostitsyns. According to La Presse, Mangiola would facilitate nights out for the brothers, set them up with girls and arrange for high priced cars. Hamrlik also has links with Mangiola, according to La Presse, as he was seen with him and the Kostitsyns in some Montreal bars.
La Presse asked Andrei Kostitsyn about Mangiola after the game in Pittsburgh and he confirmed he knew the man, but that he didn't know anything about him.
I'll be interested to see how the Habs handle this story and the media crush that will descend on practice Friday in Brossard. I'd be stunned to see Kostitsyn and Hamrlik made available to the media, and the Habs will likely try to trumpet the Alex Kovalev situation to steer attention away from this.
If it ever escalates to some sort of criminal involvement for these guys, then this might wind up being a disaster for the Canadiens. Otherwise, without having read the full La Presse story, I don't really know what to think.