Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn's Feud Continues

R LSenior Analyst IJanuary 9, 2009

Normally, hockey fights are a spur-of-the moment decision.

You look at the player next to you, get the nod, and throw your gloves on the ice.

Other times, there's plenty of emotions involved and you only want to get your hands on one individual.

Clearly, this is the case occurring between Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn.

The rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens has a long history, and we have a new chapter on our hands.

Two Belarussians who are after each other's throats. Grabovski wasn't able to maintain a regular spot in the Canadiens lineup under Guy Carbonneau, and made the move to Toronto this past summer.

Nov. 8 marked the second meeting of the season (Montreal won the first 6-1) between these two clubs, and the Leafs ran over Montreal 6-3 at the Air Canada Centre. Kostitsyn took a charging penalty on his fellow countryman and received a 10-minute misconduct.

Referees had to get between the two, and Grabovski proceeded to point towards the scoreboard.

Last night, Toronto was the visiting team at the Bell Centre. Each time Grabovski touched the puck, he would receive a nice boo from the home faithful. Montreal would win 6-2, but not without some late drama once again.

Grabovski and Kostitsyn were targeting each other, and the linesmen intervened as they did the first time in Toronto. It was Toronto's Belarussian that was more fired up, and was taken down to the ice by linesman Scott Cherrey.

Upon regaining his footing, he made one last attempt to get through, and the gave  Cherrey a light shove. Then, Grabovski made an exit that Richard Nixon would have been proud of.

With the crowd booing non-stop, he flashed the peace sign with both hands, and went to the dressing room. Expecting a suspension, it was announced that Grabovski got three games for his little push.

Two days ago, Jarkko Ruutu got two games for biting the hand of Andrew Peters. Was this worthy of more?

There are still three games remaining between these two Canadian teams, but the referees have interfered in letting a fight take place in the past two contests.

Former friends, and both natives of Belarus, this grudge runs so deep that Grabovski insists he will fight Kostitsyn off the ice.

"I think he is not Belarussian now, he is French because I never fight with Belarussian guys," Grabovski said. "I don't know why he wants to fight with me. If he wants to fight, we'll go in the street and every minute of every day I'll wait for him and we'll fight."

It's uncertain why these two have such bad blood, but Kostitsyn gave his reasons.

"He talks too much in the Russian papers about me and my brother," Kostitsyn said of his elder brother and teammate Andrei.

But Grabovski insists his problem only involves Sergei.

"He's not smart, because the older Kostitsyn, Andrei, he never fights with me and he never will fight because he plays hockey, he plays the game," he said. "I think it's stupid."

We'll see these two teams hit the ice next on Feb. 7 in Montreal. It's almost certain they'll cross paths once again. The question is whether or not the refs will stay out of it and let them square up.

In any event, the streets are always available to use as a ring.