Jacques Martin Has To Give Andrei Kostitsyn a Fair Shot

Felix SicardCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2009

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 1:  Andrei Kostitsyn #46 of the Montreal Canadiens blasts a shot in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 1, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Canadiens dfeated the Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Andrei Kostitsyn has been placed in a bad situation by his coach and by the media that covers his team.

His coach has demoted him to the fourth line and benches him with regularity. Benoit Brunet, color commentator of the Canadiens on RDS, regularly lambastes Kostitsyn's work ethic and attitude.

In other words, things are not going well for the 10th overall pick of the 2003 draft, one of the deepest drafts in NHL history.

But the blame is not all on him.

I am all for keeping players accountable, but in this case "coach" is taking it too far. The elder Kostitsyn appears lazy on some plays, but you can tell that when he gets the puck in the offensive, he can make things happen.

In Monday's game against the New York Islanders, Benoit Brunet said on the air that "things happen when he shoots, that Andrei." (rough translation)

For all the times that I disagree with the former Hab, no one in their right minds can refute that statement.

So why, Jacques Martin, keep a potential thirty-goal scorer on a fourth line alongside players such as Kyle Chipchura, who plays a game that is the polar opposite of Kostitsyn's?

When a player is in a slump, the head coach should be looking to bring that player out of his slump, not run him into the ground.

Guillaum Latendresse has been playing extremely well and deserves his spot on the second line. While Matt D'Agostini can bring many good things to the table, those things don't compare to a confident Andrei Kostitsyn.

A player's confidence not only stems from his own play, but it also stems from when that players feels that their coach is confident that he can do the job.

Perhaps Jacques Martin isn't confident that Kostitsyn can do that, but wouldn't he rather see him creating scoring opportunities with quality linemates, rather than toiling on the fourth line?

Even on the fourth line, his role is no where near defined.

What exactly is he supposed to do to regain his coach's confidence? Not even the coach seems to know the answer to that. Does he expect him to grind it out and block shots? That isn't the type of player that Kostitsyn is, so how will that help him?

If given a vote of confidence by his coach, more ice time, and quality linemates, we might start seeing the AK-46 of old again.