Before everyone gets bent out of shape over the interview Andrei Kostitsyn gave to the Belarus website Goal.by, it might be an idea to take a deep breath and consider the context, something that was ignored in the TSN translation.
The interview was conducted with both Kostitsyn brothers in their Belorussian hometown of Novopolotsk. Along with a lot of other stuff, Andrei did briefly mention that he felt his season was hindered by the fact that he was shuffled between the first and third lines and that he had a communications problem with Jacques Martin.
Kostitsyn was given a one year contract by Pierre Gauthier because, while he scored twenty goals for the third time in the last four years, he was victim of prolonged slumps. When he came out of them he promptly rejoined Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri. Kostitsyn scored only one goal the final nine games of the season. He went through another nineteen games with only one goal. Another stretch had him scoring once in twelve games and there was also that a twelve game stretch where he had no goals. Add that up and you get three goals in 52 games and seventeen in the other 29.
Still, injury-free Kostitsyn is a guaranteed twenty goal scorer. In the last four years, the only time twenty eluded him he missed 23 games with injury. So, when Kostitsyn’s game was in the ditch he wound up on the Canadiens third line. What was the coach supposed to do? When he came out of them, he was back with Plekanec and Cammalleri.
He’s an enigma. Kostitsyn possesses one of the hardest and most accurate wrist shots in the NHL and was fourth on the club with 196 shots. He’s led the team with 140 hits although there were times when he choice of when to hit and when to let up were questionable.
Athletes in any sport have difficulty in blaming themselves for their competitive problems. It’s a given that Kostitsyn has lost his job on the first line to Erik Cole at least to start the season. His agent, Don Meehan has suggested he keep his mouth shut and play hockey. Good advice. Now it’s up to Kostitsyn to crawl out of the coach’s doghouse and earn that long term contract that eluded him this summer.