Monday, October 5, 2009

"I see the light!"

At least, the Canadiens have to hope that Sergei Kostitsyn has done just that after he wisely decided to end his holdout and report to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

His agent Don Meehan took credit for his client's sudden change of heart, saying he continued insisting that the path back to the NHL was through Hamilton, whether it's with the Canadiens or not.

I'm wondering, however, if Kostitsyn has indeed played his final game in a Canadiens uniform. Will Bob Gainey be able to forgive and forget? Judging by how he dealt with the Mikhail Grabovski situation a couple of years back, banishing his precocious young Belrusian to the minors after he went AWOL on a Western road trip, I think it would have to be a pretty desperate situation for the Canadiens to call Kostitsyn back up.

These situations are no-win for the NHL calibre player being sent to the minors for an attitude adjustment. Kostitsyn will be expected to dominate, and if he does just that, well that's what he's expected to do. But if he doesn't, it could further sour him in the yes of the 29 other NHL GMs, who probably aren't extremely impressed with his refusal to report for an assignment. Last year, Kostitsyn managed 13 points in 16 games with Hamilton. That won't be nearly good enough this time around.

With the way Canadiens players are dropping like flies these days, there could very well be room for Kostitsyn in the lineup within the next few games. Unfortunately, his little stunt may have cost him an immediate call-up, but that's not to say he absolutely won't be back at some point, though I doubt it.

His is not the type of attitude you want to expose your team to, which is why I saw his demotion as more of a quarantine than anything else. For those who may have missed it, Kostitsyn gave this interview to Puck Daddy's Dimitry Chesnokov shortly after it became public that he wouldn't be reporting to Hamilton. Nowhere in the interview did Kostitsyn mention why he may have been at least somewhat responsible for his demotion.

There's also a bit of a credibility fight, because while Meehan told Francois Gagnon that he wanted Kostitsyn to report to Hamilton, Kostitsyn says, "My agent supported me right away, because he understood that I shouldn't be playing for the [farm] club. And they agreed with me that I should be traded right away." So who do you believe, an established super-agent in the league, or Sergei Kostitsyn?

In any case, it's clear to many, including the CBC's Elliotte Friedman, that Kostitsyn has a lot of growing up to do and that he needs to start taking responsibility for his own play. If he can do that, maybe there is a future for him in Montreal, even if he doesn't think so.

Meanwhile, Sergei's brother Andrei is coming under a lot of heat for his lacklustre play through TWO GAMES of regular season action. Here's an example of some of that heat, from pre-eminent Habs blogger Mike Boone's new twitter feed: "We await reports on Ryan O'Byrne's ankle, Glen Metropolit's neck and delicate surgery to extract Andrei Kostitsyn's head from his ass."

Funny? Absolutely. Fair? Not so sure.

I won't argue that Andrei has been lights out so far this season, in fact he's been downright awful. I can see that, but is two games enough of a sample size to judge his production? The Habs opponents Tuesday night have a guy named Jarome Iginla who has one measly point two games into the season. It's not because he's not trying, or he that doesn't take the games seriously, or that he's crying in his locker about his brother being demoted to the minors (I know he doesn't have a brother playing pro hockey. You get my point). He just had a bad couple of games, something that happens over the course of an 82-game schedule.

The one annoying part about Andrei's loafing thus far is that his centre Tomas Plekanec is playing so well and working for everything he's getting. If Andrei just matched his centreman's intensity, he'd be fine because his talent is undeniable.

But let's let him play at least, I don't know, 10 games before we all start throwing him to the wolves.

UPDATE: Sportsnet is reporting that Sergei Kostitsyn agreed to report to Hamilton only after the Canadiens assured him he would be traded. I'm not sure if I buy that, but that's what they're reporting.


Dann said...

I would question the credibility of the interviewer.

jkr said...

I keep hearing about the talent of teh Kostitsyn brothers but I see it so rarely. Is it possible that they are not a s good as we think they are? But Habs fans never over value their prospects. :)

Sliver24 said...

It's not the production Arp, it's the lack of effort.

Habs fans, for the most part, are savvy enough to be able to distinguish between lack of production and lack of effort. We tend to be quite tolerant of the former (within reason, of course, and as long as the effort remains) but much less so when it comes to the latter.

So it's not that Kostitsyn has not been scoring, it's that he has been completely irrelevant. That, as you point out, is made even more obvious by the fact that he's had Plekanec and Cammalleri zipping around the ice, making AK46 look slow and disinterested.

From the outside it looks to me like the Brothers Kostitsyn are the last remaining vestiges of the dark cloud that Bob Gainey was trying to clear out when he blew up the team this past off season.

I say trade them both - not in desperation but as part of a deal that makes sense with a team that needs cap relief or thats looking to shake up its lineup.

Arpon Basu said...

I don't know the guy, but judging by some of his past work the interviewer here is pretty credible. He broke the story of Malkin supporting Ovechkin on the 2014 Olympics, and generally does very good work. Having watched Sergei with the Russian media in montreal, his comments in the story are not shocking. The one critique I would make is that Dimitry didn't push the fact that Sergei had a poor camp and missed the team bus to a game.

pfhabs said...

1. on trading Sergei...I'll remind all of a similiar enfant terrible one Mike Ribiero...he needed to go for about the same reasons people point to Sergei (small difference is that franco media didn't expose Mikey Rib's indicretions)...we got a broken ankle that hadn't healed properly and dallas got a top 2 centre...Bob ran that trade....can he do any better now ? my view is no given what he paid for Gomez

2. the K bros "...are the remaining last vestiges of the black cloud..."...Sliver by inference your statement includes Koivu as part of that black cloud ---remind me of what Saku did ? perhaps you can expound on Komisarek's indiscretions ? aside for not showing up for 20 games what were Kovy's indiscretions ? or Higgins' ?

-seems to me that you like so many bought into the CH management BS of cleaning the room was necessary...unfortunately the guys they got rid of were professionals off the ice...albeit not always at peak performance on ice because of injury or indifference

-"black cloud" really...simply Gainey screwed up, many of the young guys got out of hand off the ice and Bob knew nothing of it until the damage was long since done

-how come you are NOT talking about trading Carey Price---he was a king pin of indiscetion ? are we cleaning the room or are we just covering up the GM's massive errors last year and blaming just the players ?

Sliver24 said...

I think I've finally figured out what PF stands for: Perennial Farbissener ;)

pfhabs said...

would have preferred you answered the questions but guess they cut to close to the truth

Sliver24 said...

You didn't bring anything up that we hadn't already traded opinions on ad nauseum, so I thought it would have been redundant.

You have a tendency to take a comment and, in the interest of trying to bolster your own arguments, twist it completely.

I mention a "dark cloud" over last year's team - a concept that's so ubiquitous that it's almost a consensus - and you twist it so that suddenly I'm picking on Saku Koivu. Hm, bit of a stretch there.

Also, I mentioned neither off-ice indiscretions nor Carey Price but you accuse me of letting Price off the hook and blaming other players.

My post was primarily about Andrei Kostitsyn and what I perceived as a lack of effort (as opposed to production). If you wanted a response make your questions relevant to the points that I made instead of what you feel I "inferred."

pfhabs said...


-perhaps you should read your post again...copied here for your convenience

"From the outside it looks to me like the Brothers Kostitsyn are the last remaining vestiges of the dark cloud that Bob Gainey was trying to clear out when he blew up the team this past off season."

1. in this para you talk about the bros as the last "vestiges of the dark cloud" not Andrei's production problems

ask yourself these questions:

a. what black cloud are you referring to ?

b. if the K boys are the last vestiges, what players made up the rest of the vestiges ?

c. who got cleared out ?

-pretty transparent what you said and what you were referring to. sometimes S24 you can draw a straight line between two points even if you don't like to admit it

-twisting you words ? really, seems to me your last post would make most politicians cringe

-btw your last post just answered the questions I asked. glad to see you don't like the answers you came up with. most of CH nation will wake up to what happened last year, who's to blame, who paid the price, who didn't and what last July was all about

-continue to blindly trust in Bob. no skin off my nose