by Joe Tasca on 03/14/13 at 11:00 PM ET
It's not often that a professional hockey player requests a demotion to a lower-tier league. But that's exactly what Chad Costello did this week.
Fresh off an MVP season with the ECHL's Colorado Eagles, Costello was once again leading his club in scoring early on this year. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers took notice, signing the Iowa native to a professional tryout contract in mid-December. Costello performed admirably while in Bridgeport, notching 12 points in 21 games.
That production came as a fourth line player, behind players he didn’t feel were as talented as him. The tipping point was when he was in the lineup, registered points, then be benched for apparently no reason.
So he asked for, and was granted, his release and a return to Colorado.
“There comes a time when you’re not enjoying the game anymore and I could tell that nothing was going to change and it was time for me to make a move to better me, the Eagles and my family,” Costello said. “I wanted to get back to enjoying the game and go to where I was wanted.”
Costello had some scathing words about his stint in Bridgeport. Mike Fornabaio has the low-down:
He told the Coloradoan he thought he was “fooled around with, a bit, in (his) mind,” benched in favor of “some pretty average players.” Those words had made their way around here.
“I’m very disappointed in the comments by Chad Costello,” (Bridgeport head coach Scott) Pellerin said. “I thought I treated him fairly, gave him an opportunity to play power play, top-six and all different situations. To any player on my team, you have to earn your place. He did put up points, but it’s not all about points. It’s about playing hockey the right way, competing the right way, competing for pucks, playing on the defensive side of the puck, to be a good pro.”
Costello says his ability to produce in Bridgeport shows he's an NHL-caliber player. That may be so, but the fact is he's got a lot to learn about respect, modesty, and being a team player. There's no excuse for openly insulting the skill level of your former teammates, particularly after you've put your tail between your legs and ditched town, not having to worry about being held accountable for such cowardly words.
It's no secret that Bridgeport coaches are going to give preferential treatment and more ice time to the Islanders' young prospects. As a free agent signing, Costello knew he had an uphill climb to prove himself to the Islander brass. If he felt he wasn't getting a fair shake and wanted to go back to his ECHL team for personal and family reasons, that's fair enough. But to take a parting cheap shot at the youngsters toiling away in Bridgeport is downright classless.
As we all do from time to time, Chad Costello needs a lesson in humility.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.