Yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens sent Sergei Kostitsyn down to the Hamilton Bulldogs, which came to the surprise of many people.
The younger Kostitsyn didn't have an outstanding training camp, but looking at the intangibles that he brought to the team, such as the speed and intensity that he showed throughout the exhibition season, should have been enough to earn the young forward a spot on the roster.
Kostitsyn just learned the hard way how things work during training camp.
If they don't need you, they won't keep you.
There is no denying the Belarussian's skill level, but his skill set is something that the Canadiens are already heavy with. The names of Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec come to mind, and after last year's experiment of three scoring lines, the need for a checking line was glaringly obvious.
Therefore, Kostitsyn is a logical cut by management.
It is also true that he was outworked by budding prospects Ben Maxwell and Tom Pyatt, who are more of what the team is looking for. It may be best for his development, where he will be able to play mostly pressure-free, away from the microscope in Montreal.
On the positive side, Kostitsyn is sure to excel at the AHL level, and an increase in scoring is sure to give him back some of the confidence that he lost in last year's turbulent season.
It is hard to envision Bob Gainey keeping Kostitsyn in Hamilton all season, as eventually he will break through and become a key contributor.
This move will keep Kostitsyn accountable, as last season it often seemed that he took his spot in the lineup for granted. In the minors, Kostitsyn will be able to learn how to control his emotions, for his temper has gotten the best of him too many times.
Expect him to be back, sooner rather than later.