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The Upper Canadien

AK blows off some steam

It’s the summer, and a Hab with the initials AK has made some misguided comments to the media in Europe, apparently thinking they’d never be recirculated to North America.

Sound familiar? Somewhat ironic that Alex Kovalev made questionable comments of his own earlier this week. Maybe Andrei Kostitsyn was just following his mentor’s lead. Regardless, we’ve got an issue, and as this is Montreal, despite the fact it’s August, it has the potential to blow up.

Oh great.

So what did Kostitsyn say? There’s a good summary of it here: Andrei Kostitsyn Just Wants to be Loved. But, in summary, Kostitsyn said it is very difficult producing from the third and fourth line, that he didn’t really understand his role last season, and that Jacques Martin didn’t care that Kostitsyn wanted to talk about his place on the team.

Why Andrei, why?

We were having a nice summer, no controversies, signed Erik Cole, getting ready for fall. You just had to rock the boat didn’t you?

The reality is that Martin comes across to, well, I suspect everyone as not caring what individual players think. He’s a team guy. It’s all about the team. Do you think Martin was up at night last year wondering if Scott Gomez felt alienated or hurt due to his slowly reduced ice time? No. Jacques Martin just cares about winning. Andrei Kostitsyn should be thinking that way too.

But he won’t. Because he’s a professional athlete. He’s more concerned with goals, statistics, ice time. Which is all fairly ironic, given that this is a contract year for Mr. Kostitsyn. Make it or break it. And if he really wants to look appealing and hit the money, you’d think he’d keep his mouth shut.

Just another lesson to athletes everywhere: the internet extends around the world, and if you sneeze in Belarus, they’ll hear it in Canada. Especially in Montreal.

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Comments

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Jacques Martin just cares about winning. Andrei Kostitsyn should be thinking that way too.

The coach ignores a player who wants to discuss what his role is with the team and it’s the player who’s the a$$hole?

I could understand if he didn’t go to the coach and simply went public, but he did go to the coach about it and was rebuffed.  He’s frustrated with his role, with not knowing what his role is, so the best solution is to shut up and be frustrated?

I could also understand it if he was complaining after a successful season in which the Habs made a deep playoff run, but they didn’t, and it’s possible that having players who are frustrated and don’t know their roles directly contributed to them not winning.

Which is all fairly ironic, given that this is a contract year for Mr. Kostitsyn.

How is that ironic?  What guy, in a contract year, would want to be shuffled from line to line, playing with a dozen different players?  Ideally, in a contract year you would want some stability so that you can play to the best of your abilities and be awarded for it, no?

Posted by Garth on 08/11/11 at 08:40 PM ET

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The team comes first. We spent the better part of two decades watching selfish halfwits destroy any semblance of team unity. We’re finally weeding that out and AK46 puts the spotlight on himself for all the wrong reasons yet again. Nice work.

I’ve seen him take so many nights off (even during the playoffs last year!) If Jacques wants to bench him for that, AK should be smart enough to figure out why…

Posted by Marc10 from Sydney, Oz on 08/11/11 at 11:17 PM ET

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Garth: If this was Travis Moen, or Brian Gionta, then Martin has some explaining to do. But Kostitsyn looks disinterested way, way too often, and yes, it’s a team game. The team has to come first. As for the shuffling issue, he’s heading into his UFA contract year now, so hopefully, he plays hard and thus remains on a top two line. if not, he’s got no one to blame but himself. That said, Martin shuffles lines way too much, and I’ve made that point many times. But this is all on Kostitsyn. You don’t air grievances like this in public, unless you want to be traded. And given his history and lack of effort, combined with what went down with his brother, perhaps he does want out.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 08/11/11 at 11:25 PM ET

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Agree with the above posts. The team always comes first. If one of your top six forwards isn’t producing (I consider AK a top six forward on the Habs), you drop him to the third or fourth line to try and get a fire going under him. AK really needed to elevate his game at times last year, and he didn’t. You can’t coast (or take a night off) and expect the coach to turn a blind eye. If he would have played hard every shift, Martin would have given him plenty of ice time on one of the top lines.

In any event, I believe AK’s days in Montreal are numbered.

Posted by Briney on 08/12/11 at 12:30 PM ET

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While I certainly agree with a lot of what has already been said here about winning franchises being built around character players with a team-first attitude, it is interesting that part of the issue here is supposedly Martin “not caring” about the opinion of one of his younger players.  It isn’t exactly uncommon for Martin to clash with young, offensive-minded players on occassion from what I can recall, so this doesn’t exactly strike me as something coming out of left field.  Granted, it’s easy to write this particular case off as simply being Kostitsyn showing a bit of a petulent attitude (something we have seen on numerous occassions in the past from him, and probably the case again here), but if there is more of an underlying issue brewing between players of a certain style relative to the traditional Martin system it’s something that really needs to be addressed before it becomes a bigger issue (things like that have a tendency to grow well out of proportion in Montreal after all).

Posted by The Doc on 08/12/11 at 03:56 PM ET

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The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

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