Sergei’s Attitude Adjusted?
When Sergei Kostitsyn was first traded to Nashville for Ellis and Boyd there was both optimism and uncertainty within the fans of the Predators.
They had virtually traded two players who were going to leave the team regardless on July 1st and go into free agency for a player who was a RFA and had potential but also some bad history. Fans were hoping that moving away from his brother Andrei and locating to a team that generally flow under the radar would help him become the hockey player he had shown promises of becoming.
Sergei Kostitsyn was drafted in the 2005 draft by Montreal and was taken 200th overall in the seventh round. The year after he was drafted he posted 131 points in 59 games with 40 goals and was third in the OHL in scoring behind Kane and Tavares. He then signed an entry level deal with the Canadians on May 26 of 2007. He started the 07-08 season with the bulldogs and putting 22 points in 22 games he was called up to the NHL team and stayed there the rest of the seasons. He posted 27 points in 51 games and was beginning to look like the diamond in the rough the Canadians had drafted him as. The following season he was up and down in the line-up playing 16 games in Hamilton posting 14 points and playing 56 games and posting 23 points with the Canadians.
While the first three years after being drafted by Montreal seemed to be going great as fans knew they had a talent emerging and needed only some more time to develop into his full potential Sergei did not exactly se e it that way. Sergei was cut from the team just before the start of the 09-10 seasons and was told to report to Hamilton. He refused to report and asked to be dealt to a team that he could play for in the NHL. He was suspended by the club, and later he gave in and reported to the Bulldogs. That season was one of ups and downs for the Belarusian he had a long standing feud with the Coach of the Canadians Martin and was cut from the team.
In Feb of 2008 Sergei and his brother were also linked to and organized crime group but was never investigated.
After all that the Canadians had finally given up on him and traded him for essentially Boyd as he was the only one that signed with the team. What the preds got was a riddle that Poile thought Trotz could solve, and one that could help the team for minimum pay. When Kostitsyn first arrived in Nashville he had a decent training camp and preseason but never really stood out, he was actually a healthy scratch the first 2 games of the season but was inserted into the line-up once Lombardi went down with a concussion.
At first he was designated to 4th line duties and played around 9 to 10 minutes a game and not really contributing. In those games it seemed as though Trotz did not fully trust him and was trying maybe to force him to play the system. He seemed out of place most of the time in my opinion as he had skill, that was obvious but he didn’t fit with the team. That was until about the end of November when he started to get some more ice time and was moved onto a line with fellow Europeans Goc and Erat. He had an eight game point streak form the 1st to 17th of Dec and hasn’t looked back since. In the games just prior, during and after the streak he has found his role similar to one of Erat as a strong two way player that has a little more offensive jump than the rest of the Predators.
It seemed as though Trotz has solved the riddle of Kostitsyn and found a way to motivate him and keep him motivated to play good solid hockey and let his instincts take over in the offensive zone. It has been good to see him slowly become the player everyone thought he could be; now it’s only a matter of seeing whether or not he is the real deal or just a flash in the pan.