Now, first of all, let me just say I'm not the kind of writer to go out and report rumours as facts or write casual articles that have no "meat" around them. But I feel this article is "needed" in this case.
The latest news from the Montreal Canadiens is that our dear Sergei K, brother of Andrei, has decided not to report to the farm club in Hamilton. He informed his agent yesterday he was not going to join the Bulldogs after being cut from the Canadiens and has asked to be traded. It's been made official this morning.
I call that the "selfish ego" syndrome.
I don't want to generalize, but it happens more often with Europeans simply because they have the option to go back home and play for the KHL. Sergei expected to make the team right away. He should know you have to earn your place in the NHL...
This is not the first time we read about this. Last year, Montreal lost Pavel Valentenko to the KHL but for very different reasons, in his case, money was a big factor since Valentenko was supporting his entire family an an AHL salary of about $25,000 per year. At the NHL level, he would have made about $800,000. But in Sergei's case, it's not money, it's all attitude.
Now Montreal will have no choice to pack him up and trade him if they don't want to lose him for nothing to the KHL. It sounds like a case of teenage rebellion.
I'm not even going to mention the events from last year concerning mob relations; that's over now and proven they were not related to any crimes.
Sergei Kostitsyn, as per reports, arrived at camp in bad shape. His fitness level was far from acceptable, and he obviously got reprimanded for it. Jacques Martin was far from impressed by his attitude and overall play on the ice, going as far as saying Sergei had to change his attitude drastically if he hoped of having a chance with the big club.
Then Sergei missed the bus that was taking the team to Quebec for training...and that obviously didn't help.
At his best, I really like the kid. I like his competitiveness, his spunk and fire. That's what impressed management during his first try with the team. There is a lot of talent and potential there. But it's not going to help him at all if he has attitude problems.
Grabovski had attitude problems and was shipped to Toronto. I'm starting to think these two are from the same mold. There's also a strong rivalry going on between the two.
Obviously, Sergei got suspended without pay and is not happy.
Now, I need to talk about Andrei K. Andrei is a first round pick from 2003 and took a very long time to adapt to North America and is just barely starting to emerge as a top six forward...just barely.
A few years ago, Montreal decided to draft Sergei in the seventh round and bring him over to play for the London Knights. The reason was to have him play close to his brother to ease the adaptation period. It worked. Andrei suddenly became a point per game player at the AHL level and was quickly brought up by the Canadiens.
Now Sergei is technically gone. So what is Andrei going to do? I remember posting an article earlier where I stated my fears about both Kostitsyn pulling a "Radulov" and deserting the team for the KHL. Now that possibility seems even more likely. Andrei has refused any comments about his brother...which adds to the doubts surrounding them.
Their value is low now, very low. Montreal might have to trade both for some loose change but will definitely lose in the trade. I know Gainey has tried to trade both Kostitsyn brothers late last season and again this summer.
The result? Well, they're both still with the team are they? So that says a lot about their market value...especially since they are still very young but nobody wants to take a chance on them.
Who would want an "underperformer" like Andrei who just can't seem to break out on his own, and his brother who has attitude and work ethic problems. Is there a team desperate enough?
Again, trade demands have been made public and this will likely affect the Canadiens options just as it did with Heatley in Ottawa. But to be honest, at this point, I just don't care anymore about the brother K's. The potential is there, but still untapped and looks like it might never be. Andrei looks and plays like a guy who wants to be elsewhere, and his brother desperately wanted to stay but without having to work for it.
The "fresh start" that Bob Gainey was talking and the 11 players he let go to free agency or trade might extend to the Kostitsyn brother as well.
It's too bad, but probably for the best. Now my No. 74 Kostitsyn shirt will be a vintage product I guess!
Good bye Sergei K. Any takers?