Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/18/09 at 11:33 AM ET
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock cannot escape criticism. Since the season began, Hitchock has kept Filatov on an impossibly short leash. For every mistake, there was instant rebuke and, at times, a public punishment. Why treat Filatov so? Is not the goal here to take this talent-rich player and mold him rather than emasculate him? Does not a smart coach find a way to teach him—for the good of the player, the team and the organization? Is not Filatov a prime asset?
Filatov is not devoid of culpability. Many Jackets have fresh memories of Zherdev’s enigmatic, and sometimes toxic, presence. Filatov, by comparison, is well-liked. Lately, however, Filatov has moped as his frustration has grown, and it was a source of worry within the tightly knit group of players. There is no room for added drama over a rigorous season. Jake Voracek and Derick Brassard continue to have their chains yanked, but they have responded to challenges where Filatov has not. Ultimately, Filatov used his Moscow escape hatch, which comes with a tax-free contract worth about $1 million.
The nut of it all is this: The general manager, the coach and the player reached the same conclusion, and that is that Filatov will best be served by returning to Russia for at least a year.
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