At the beginning of 2007-08, no one expected Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn to be such major contributors to the Montreal Canadiens' hope at a playoff run.
And at the beginning of 2008-09, no one expected the Kostitsyns to make so much noise for all the wrong reasons.
After emerging as two of the league's best young players, there was a lot of hype surrounding the Belorussian brothers going into the Canadien's centennial season.
Although Andrei was great in spurts, he never displayed the fire that was so evident in his breakout year.
As for Sergei, it was simply a season to forget.
Which begs the question: Are these guys the real deal, or did they have one good year?
This question cannot be simply answered, because while both brothers possess tremendous skill, they are very different players with their own distinctive strengths and weaknesses.
Sergei is the fiery playmaker who has put up tremendous numbers wherever he has played. The elder Kostitsyn has amazing hands and a lethal shot, but he oftentimes seems uninterested and has never put up massive numbers like his brother.
Sergei flat out lost his spot on the roster last year, with Matt D'Agostini stepping up when getting the call. He seemed to get too comfortable, and although his skill is undeniable, like Bobby Orr said: ''Forget about style, worry about results.'' The former London Knight was largely invisible, and he was a liability at the point on the power play.
Even though Andrei has an obvious lack of fire and intensity, and although he couldn't match his previous output, his production was still decent enough to make a minor contribution. He had 26 goals and 23 assists in 2007-08 and 23 goals and 18 assists in 2009.
The most noise that both the brothers made was when it was revealed that they were involved in the Montreal crime scene and were involved with their infamous feud with fellow Belorussian Mikhail Grabovski.
Besides that, did the Kostitsyns do anything warrant the hype that surrounded them?
Nothing really, except maybe adding fuel to those who still believe that Europeans are soft and don't care.
So which Kostitsyn is most likely to bounce back this year?
My money is on Andrei. He has great finishing ability, and if he can get on the same line as Scott Gomez, he will surely get a new career high in goals.
As for Sergei, hopefully he cracks the roster as right now, he is the odd man out in the Canadiens's lineup.
For either Kostitsyn, however, it's time to step up. Because with a fan base that is always starving for immediate results, they could very well find themselves in the bleu, blanc, et rouge doghouse.
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