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.