Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kostitsyns could learn from Patrick Marleau & Co

9d783baf6a3a569b266d7e56928e090a-getty-90955739es009_minnesota_wil Despite losing the captaincy, Sharks captain Patrick Marleau continues his exceptional play; something the Kostitsyns need to learn in Montreal.

Over the summer, the San Jose Sharks made a “house cleaning” in their dressing room as a way to send the message to the rest of the team.

After another unsuccessful playoff run, captain Patrick Marleau and assistant captain Joe Thornton were removed of their respective positions. Another assistant, Mike Grier, was not re-signed by the team.

It was an effort from coach Todd McLennan to shake things up, and maybe it worked.

It appears both players have accepted the transition. There was no pouting, no failing to show up for training camp, or no whining to the press.

The duo are taking their frustrations, if any, on the ice. After six games, Marleau has five goals and an assist for the Sharks (3-2-1). Thornton, who reclaimed his "A", has a goal and nine assists.

So off to the Eastern Conference we go, where les freres Kostitsyn, Andre and Sergei, are doing quite the opposite with the Montreal Canadiens.

After last season’s media crime scandal emerged in Montreal , the Belarusian brothers struggled in 2008-09 and the situation clearly disrupted both players. Sergei was demoted to the Hamilton Bulldogs and Andrei’s point production dropped slightly and his overall play was scrutinized.

Both Kostitsyns were found to have had no criminal involvement over the summer, with the Canadiens off-season shake up and coaching changes, it was expected the new look Canadiens would benefit the remaining players or at least get out a message.

For Sergei Kostitsyn ,it has so far failed. After being in coach Jacques Martin’s doghouse in training camp, he was sent back to Hamilton. Sergei refused to report and demanded a trade. He finally reported to the Bulldogs and claims a trade arrangement has been made. He was held pointless in his only AHL game as of Friday.

As for older brother, Andrei things seem to be just as bad having just registered a single goal after five games. That goal was against Vancouver and one that Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo would have 99 percent of the time.

In Saturday’s 3-2 loss Edmonton, he made a brutal cross-ice pass in his own end that led to the winning Oilers goal. Kostitsyn did not see any ice time in the third period.

Now granted the season is in it’s infancy and things can change. There’s an edge to Marleau and Thornton with their veteran experience on handling their situation. Or perhaps, they wanted to just stay quiet and be overshadowed by their teammate’s summer performance, see Heatley, Dany.

In any event, both Kostitsyn’s have potential to perform on the ice like their San Jose counterparts. Here’s hoping they can learn to find it, and fast.

Lots of Laraque: Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque reportedly requested to change his jersey number to 27. Laraque has worn No. 27 for most of his career but settled on No. 17 last season with the presence of Alex Kovalev. In light of Kovalev’s departure the Canadiens turned him down.

Laraque also got into some trouble over an alcohol ad he did this summer.

The internet-based ad shows the Habs enforcer playing street hockey with several scantily clad women, raising complaints from women’s groups and the NHL.

Article 25.1 of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement states that no player can sponsor or endorse an alcoholic beverage.

The league did not comment on any disciplinary action, and Laraque has since apologized and regretted appearing in the ad. He also stated that any earnings he made went directly to an animal rights organization.

Belle tolls for Shawn: The Canadiens called up Shawn Belle form Hamilton on Tuesday, replacing the roster spot left with Yannick Weber’s cap-related demotion on Monday.

Belle will likely stay with the Canadiens through their home opener while Marc-Andre Bergeron continues his conditioning stint with the Bulldogs.

With Hamilton having three games in four days, it may benefit the free-agent blue liner to get another game or two in the AHL.

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