Come Back Kostitsyns. We’ve Missed You

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I remember fondly just two seasons ago watching Andrei Kostitsyn and kid brother Sergei surprise everyone with their great hands, great shots, game-winning goals, and refreshing feistiness from Sergei in particular and to a lesser extent, Andrei. And it was heartwarming to see close brothers playing on the same team. When Andrei got rammed into the boards one night and was knocked silly, Sergei was beside himself, had tears in his eyes, and was touchingly consoled by captain Saku Koivu.

And I remember my sentence exactly in one of my posts from back then. “These guys are all-stars,” I said. Andrei was predicted to become a sharpshooter. He was a revelation. A dangerous marksman just starting out. Sergei had youthful flair, brought the crowd to their feet, and put smiles on the faces of Habs fans.

Then the season came to an end, and the following fall they began by not playing like all-stars. By mid-season, they still weren’t all-stars. By the end of the season, most had decided Andrei had performed poorly. And Sergei played like the fuse in his brain had been switched off. Ridiculous penalty-taking, lacklustre effort, nights in the press box, banished to the Hamilton Bulldogs, selfish rushes up the ice only to lose the puck and create opportunities for the other team by being out of position. They were two poster boys for a troubled team.

But we saw how wonderfully these two had played two years ago, and we need that again. And even though the numbers seem similar for both from one season to the next, there’s a world of difference, especially with Sergei. Because for every good thing Sergei did last year, he goofed up more. In a tight game, you didn’t want to see him on the ice because you knew he’d be taking a stupid penalty at any second. Or lose the puck.

Here’s how the numbers look for these guys. How can these totals be so similar, yet they both played so much poorer last year?

Andrei – 2007-2008  (78 games, 26 goals, 27 assists)
2008-2009 (74 games, 23 goals, 18 assists)

Sergei – 2007-2008 (52 games, 9 goals, 18 assists)
2008-2009 (56 games, 8 goals, 15 assists)

The Canadiens have all these new additions this year – big guys, small guys, proven scorers, fighters, hard-hitters. It’s a team blown up and rebuilt. But two of the most important ingredients were already on the team – the Kostityns. If they can regain their form and pick it up a notch, the Habs can only be much better.

Let’s hope the boys have seen the light this summer and come out flying this fall.

28 thoughts on “Come Back Kostitsyns. We’ve Missed You”

  1. although we do have a pretty good line up of scorers and play makers, we’re going to need the Kostitsyn brothers to back up Cammalleri, Gomez and Gionta.
    If they perform to the extent of the 2007-2008 season, this season should be a very promising one, and the Stanley cup may not sound too farfetched.

  2. You’ve nailed it, Phil. They’re a really important part of the puzzle. These guys have to play like two years ago. Thanks!

  3. Thanks alot Dennis! i love this site, i have finally found a great Habs blog site, i just found it today.

    But i do have to say, that the signings that Gainey has done recently, can be a miss, if the new players don’t create any chemistry quickly, this can be a bad season, but if it’s smooth sailiing with the new comer this should be a great year for the Habs.

    We just have to hope that Carey Price can play constitently, just like the first half of the 2008-2009 season.
    the Kostitsyn’s get in the zone.
    and the newcomers start to build some chemistry.

    I don’t think we need to worry on defense, we’ve got some gritty forwards, and we have size and ability and puck movement on D.

    we have to hope that everything goes well this season, or else it might be the end of the Gainey era.

  4. You’ve brought up the other thing – Carey Price. It’s not going to matter at all if the new guys perform, Price has to stop pucks. I really hope he’s better with another year under his belt, and I hope he’s matured with some outside help. Yep, the real question mark will be Price. And we won’t really know about the others until the season gets going. Gainey definitely knew it was time for big changes, and you’re right, if everything falls flat, his job’s on the line.

  5. He’s in Calgary right now in camp. my sister tells me that he partied alot during the season. i think that Carey is maturing and putting his hockey career first. it seems like he’s trying to get rid of the obstacles that resulted to his lackluster second half of the 2008-2009 season. it should be a good season for him. he seems to be in control now.

  6. We’ve heard he’s a bit of a partier, and there’s some video of him having a good time, so if he is a bit like that, that’s where an older, established goalie would have helped guide him. That’s one player I wish Gainey would’ve made a deal for, a veteran goalie to help Price.

  7. yeah, someone like we need someone like Cujo, but Jaroslav Halak is a pretty solid back-up, so it’s more of a win-loss scenario, since Cujo isn’t as good Jaro.

  8. but, Cujo wasn’t quite the best help for Vesa Toskala this year. The Maple Leafs were one of the worst goaltending teams this season. But hey, you can’t turn back time. just think that the moves that Gainey have made were the best for the team.

  9. I think in terms of Andrei and to a lesser extent Sergei it will be interesting to see how they respond without Kovalev. Right now they have a really good opportunity to make themselves a part of the team’s new identity. It’s no longer Koivu’s team or Kovalev’s team where younger players had a back seat or were not even in the car. Andrei and again to a lesser extent Sergei have an opportunity to become key elements of this new incarnation of the habs, I hope they’re ready.

  10. yeah, perhaps they’re waiting for their big break. this is their chance to prove what they’re worth. They can’t choke on the breaking point of their careers.

  11. You’re absolutely right. They now have a chance to be core guys. It all depends if their heads are screwed on right. When I own the team, there’s going to be some big changes. Oh, wait, Gainey’s already made big changes. Okay, when I’m owner, I’m going to crack the whip.

  12. I think they need an older goalie who had made some of the same mistakes Price has made off the ice. Someone to steer him through the landmines.

  13. Kostitsyn’s and Carey have to stay away from on and off ice problems, i find that our team is very troublesome, due to over press coverage. the young guns are getting caught up in the limelight. and it’s showing in their play.

  14. There were lots of crazy players back in the Original Six, but the difference was, they didn’t have all this money young players have now. I think barrels of money and young guys is a recipe for trouble.

  15. Especially coming from Belarus, where they had very little, and now they have too much. I almost can’t blame them. And don’t forget, there’s that association with some kind of low-life mobster in Montreal. I think it’s all about growing up, but who knows?

  16. yeah, that’s what i was talking about, when i said off ice troubles, the gangster that the Kostitsyn’s and Hamrlik got into, luckily they weren’t a big part of it, but it still gets in the way of their game.

    and you’re right, it’s about time they grew up, they’re in the big leagues, playing with big boys, they’ve gotta show everybody that they belong here.
    It’s time for them to get serious.

  17. Yes.

    Andrei,Sergei…. I’m hoping both of you have strong seasons.

    I remember watching them 2 years ago and thought they could be pretty darn good.

    I still think they can be. They’ve got the talent.

    Jacques Martin may be a better coach for them too.

  18. The brothers K and Pleky need to be better this year. We need at least two lines as scoring threats. You’re right Dennis, this is their chance to carve out a place and identity for themselves. All excuses are removed, Carbo is gone and Kovalev was a favorite whipping boy for their shortcomings.

  19. Thanks, Moey. If the team’s going to be good, these guys have to be good. Give them a chance and if it doesn’t work out, trade them and be done with it.

  20. I agree Dennis. Their all on probation this year. After all, Bob had no qualms about letting Koivu, Tanguay and Kovy go and these guys all stepped up big time towards the end of the season and the playoffs. It’s now or never for the brothers and Pleks.

  21. What they’ve got going for them is the big road trip to start the season. They can become a team during this time. I can hardly wait. And by the way, Phil, just so you know, sometimes it may take me some time to reply to comments because I’m at work etc. But I always try my best to reply. Glad to have you on board.

  22. I have faith in the Belarusians! Especially Sergei. (The Bell Centre crowd always cheers loud for Sergei). He got like 94 assists with Kane and Gagner on his line…all he needs is guys who finish like that. Like…Cammalleri :D If not, then Andrei needs to focus and be that finisher. But they play better when together. Mostly ’cause they have that telekinesis that siblings tend to have. (Also I think Martin will be a great coach for them, especially for Sergei).

    Man… I was at that game when Andrei got brained. Sergei wanted revenge. He got a penalty for checking someone clean right after the hit… Guh! Don’t get me started.

  23. Wouldn’t it be great, 31, if they played like they’ve never played before? Montreal would be so strong with them going good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Them and Price. All I want for Christmas is all three being great.

  24. I’m expecting it to be a roller coaster first half of the season.they’re going to need to find their zones. we may excel in the second half it it goes well.

  25. exactly, but it also came with a coaching change at the half point, we just have to hope that Jacques Martin was the way to go. I highly doubt that Bob Gainey will fire him, if the team does bad halfway through the year.

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