Back in August I wrote a blog about Sergei Kostitsyn entitled 'Sergei Kostitsyn: Superstar or Superbrat?'
Here's the link, FYI:
In this article, I talked about how I wasn't sure how or where Sergei fit in the lineup of the 2010, Canadiens. How he seems like he has top-6 skill, but he has minor league attitude, and that this was ultimately going to be what determined his fate. I also wrote that when, this past summer, Sergei was quoted as saying that he believed the only reason he was sent to Hamilton, last year, was because of his off-ice scandal, that he might be in for a rude awakening come training camp.
Well, Sergei, your alarm clock has just gone off...time to wake the f--- up!
As per the Habs press release, dated Sunday September 27th (http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=500052&navid=DL|MTL|home), Sergei has been sent down to Hamilton and I can't say that I am surprised. After missing the beginning of camp due to injury, missing the team bus from Ottawa to Quebec City and being singled out as a yelling target, by head coach Jacques Martin, during training camp, this is probably the best thing for him.
When I saw Jacques Martin giving Sergei hell for not following the system, I was happy to see that, finally, we had someone in charge who could provide some discipline for our young team. If you think about it, that was the biggest problem with the 2008-2009 Montreal Canadiens...discipline. Guy Carbonneau was simply too lenient and too much of a nice guy on a team filled with twenty year olds. Guy needed to be harder on them, sometimes, in order for them to truly reach their potential. Unfortunately, Guy's coaching style was one that pretty much let the players do what they wanted. When the team was winning, he looked like a genius. But when they were going through tough times, the lack of disipline showed.
When Carbonneau tried to discipline them, it didn't work out and they ended up resenting the coach. I'll never forget that Western swing game in Vancouver, where Price did NOT get the start, because he had been playing like crap. It was Price's home province and he was upset that he didn't get to play in front of his hometown crowd. Halak got the start that night, and deservedly so. Maybe this would be a lesson that Price could learn from. Maybe he would learn that you have to work to get what you want, in this league. That everything isn't just handed to you. That maybe if you work a little harder on the ice, you'll get everything you want.
This theory was working until Carbo, the eternal softie, decided to let Price play the last ten minutes or so of the game. With that he undid any potential learning that Price might have had. Its just like that Simpson's episode where Bart gets sent to his room with no dinner, and just as he is realizing that his parents mean it for real this time, Homer sneak in and gives him some pizza. It totally undoes everything!
But I digress....
My story about Carbo, above, was to illustrate how there was discipline missing last season which, I believe, was at the heart of all of the off-ice antics. Out of all of the undisciplined players, Sergei was definitely at the top of that list, on and off the ice.
Sadly, my thoughts about Sergei, during the summer, have come true. He seems like he came to camp still thinking he was the king. Still thinking he was untouchable and that his place on the team was guaranteed. Well, unfortunately, Sergei never bothered to read Jacques Martin's bio. While he is known as a defense-first coach, he is also known as a person who does not tolerate BS. He is the boss and it is his way or the highway.
Jacques Martin showed, during his years in Ottawa, that he can take young, talented players, and turn them into stars. This is exactly what was missing, for the past few years, in Montreal. We have a young talented team but up until now, didn't have anyone who could mold them from behind the bench. As such, I have to give Martin the benefit of the doubt with Sergei. Let's hope that this is the wake up call that he needs in order to become a great top-6 forward. Let's hope Sergei doesn't turn this into an opportunity to sulk. Let's hope he doesn't turn around and demand a trade.
Only time will tell how Sergei responds to this demotion, but you've gotta think that Martin knows what he's doing. Let's hope that Sergei agrees with him!