Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rethinking Andrei Kostitsyn

Having a good scan of the Habs universe yesterday brought me to this very salient piece on Francois Gagnon's favourite player, Andrei Kostitsyn.

Take it from me, it's nice as a blogger to find a piece you wanted to write yourself. It gives time back to watch more highlights and read more trade rumours.

Anyway, I thought the piece was very well stated, a good indictment of those who relentlessly malign the young Belarussian. The aim of its writing, would also be as my own:

"The intention of this article is not to absolve Kostitsyn. He is responsible for his play, his attitude and his work ethic. It's simply to encourage a more balanced assessment of all players regardless of their birthplace."

I think this is fair enough, don't you?

I know that Andrei's had a sluggish start to the season relative to some others, but it hasn't been as abysmal as some commentators (Brunet, Gagnon) constantly suggest that it has been.

Gagnon, never missing an opportunity to continue the agenda he set off last spring, seemed to display real elation in his headline as wrote: "Kostitsyn demoted, finally". Brunet, as you know only takes breaks from boosting Guillaume Latendresse to sling insults at the Kostitsyn brothers.

Rather than ask those commentators to find nasty things to say about 1-goal men Latendresse and Pacioretty, I would simply prefer that they back off a little on Kostitsyn, as I think many do. After all, this season is 11 games long and our top remaining goalscorer from last year is only a three-point game away from springing back onto his usual pace.

Jacques Martin's move misread?

Though Gagnon leaped on the practice alignment for his agenda-fitting headline, I think it may just be possible that Jacques Martin's move was blown out of proportion. For one thing, the "demotion" from Plekanec's line where he wasn't clicking anyway only lasted 30 minutes. In the end, Andrei played only a shade less than Latendresse at even strength, and saw a lot more ice than new golden stick Glen Metropolit, which doesn't exactly scream doghouse.

Secondly, Chipchura had been a warrior the game before, a possession centre without a finisher – the demotion for Andrei was also a nice attempt to see if Chips could benefit from some extra talent around.


As a frequent winner of my hockey pool's October standings, and a very infrequent winner of the April edition, I've learned a lot about patience. The players we rave about today will not be the same group we rave about on the eve of the important games. Nor will the players who are dogging it in our minds now there interminably.

Some patience needs to be exercised in watching and evaluating young Andrei Kostitsyn, before we boo him off the team in a trade we may regret because:

"By all accounts, the Canadiens are short a top six forward. It would be a shame to lose another one."


Just as a note on something else that the AllHabs article brought up for me. I hadn't really thought about it before, but Rocket at AllHabs puts it very well when he asks just why there hasn't been any sign of apology from the reporters who slandered (and continue to slander) the Kostitsyns as criminals:

"Both Kostitsyn brothers and Roman Hamrlik were the victims of rumours, embellished associations, and shoddy journalism by the Montreal media last season. To date, there has been no public apology for the outrageous accusations made by certain journalists and commentators. Some even continue to defame the three by referencing the false stories."

And to requote myself:

"No one really cared whether they were criminal or not, what will be remembered is that game with frenzied hacks claiming the scoop of the century – and that said scoop implicated the Belarussians. It's propaganda 101, people don't care too much about the facts. Give them a "juicy" (to borrow a term from the man himself) headline and they'll remember that."

Come to think of it, I do think an apology is due. And though I never expect one, perhaps in lieu of one, Gagnon and Brunet in particular could offer some peace for the winger trying to crack a 5.3 shooting percentage slump.

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