The Battle of the Belarusians, that played as an undercard last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs/Montreal Canadiens rivalry, appears to be over, for now.
A Belarusian website caught the Sergei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski together last week, along with fellow countryman Ruslan Salei and Belarus’ National coach (and former NHL goalie and coach) Glen Hanlon, to promote the Belarusian Team’s 2010 Olympic Hockey Team.
One fan, named Anton, asked Grabovski if he would embrace Kostitsyn to show that their feud was over.
Though there is no photo of them in that manner, the pair shared the podium together, all smiles, and were snapped shaking hands.
The duo appears to have buried the hatchet from a feud that began Nov 8, 2008, when Kostitsyn flattened Grabovski, then peaked in a January 8, 2009 game between the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens.
Nov 8, 2008 Kostitsyn levels Grabovski
Jan 8, 2009 Grabovski tried to fight Kostitsyn
Anticipation grew in following games with an assortment of verbal quotations against each player reported by the media. But in the remaining games between the two teams, little else happened.
While the two will say they’ve put it behind them, they were at the time, representing themselves at the national level.
Come October 1, we’ll get a better idea to see if that is truly the case when hockey’s most storied rivalry kicks in again.
Kostitsyn reflects on 2008-09 and is looking forward to the 2009-10 Season:
In the article, the forward indicated that the enormous media pressure that circulated on the potential criminal investigation of him, brother Andrei and teammate Roman Hamrlik was the key to his unsuccessful 2008-09 season that led to his brief demotion to Hamilton.
Kostitsyn also acknowledged that he was the only one of the threesome that had a two-way contract with the Canadiens.
He also stated that former coach Guy Carbonneau was not responsible for his disappointing season and looks forward to a new momentum under current coach Jacques Martin.