Kostitsyn opens up on eve of playing former team
Sergei Kostitsyn usually isn’t a man of many words when talking to the media, but when asked about his brother coming to town, the left wing opened up.
“I don’t care if it is my brother or Montreal, it is just another game,” he said adding that he talks to his brother everyday and that they had plans together Friday night.
Andrei Kostitsyn has played in 13 games for the Canadiens this season and has 5 goals and 4 assists for 9 points. However, the older Kostitsyn brother has a lower-body injury and is not expected to be in the lineup when the Habs visit Bridgestone Arena for the Predators 1000th regular season game on Saturday night.
“I think he is scared of us. That’s why he’s not playing, right?” Sergei joked when informed his brother would not be in the lineup.
Before being traded to the Predators, the younger Kostitsyn brother had some problems in Montreal. He was not getting the ice time he wanted in Montreal, refused to report to the AHL farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, and was benched during the playoffs for a lack of work ethic.
Sergei says he probably needed the change of scenery to be able to showcase his talent on the ice. Last season, Kostitsyn tied for Nashville’s team lead in points with 50, including 23 goals and 27 assists.
While he half jokes that the difference between playing in Montreal and playing in Nashville is that he gets a lot more ice time down in Music City, when listening to the Belarusian talk, you get the sense he’s happy with where his hockey career has taken him.
“It is really nice to play here. It is a friendly team. The guys, the coaches, everyone is friendly. It isn’t Montreal. The coach talks to the players, unlike in Montreal where he never says anything to the players. He talks to us everyday about our game — what he likes, what he doesn’t like. He really helps us. I would love to stay here long term,” Sergei said, adding that he has yet to become a fan of country music, despite hearing it every once in a while (as Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party plays in the locker room).
Sergei also commented on the atmosphere of Nashville as a hockey city. “It is a nice atmosphere. Our building is really loud. Almost every game is sold out. It’s good. People will recognize you in the restaurant or something like that, but not like in Montreal,” he explained.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said that Sergei has bought into the Predator way of playing hockey. “Sometimes the fit is not right. Everything wasn’t smooth with Sergei when he first came over from Montreal. I could see the skill, but he broke his foot right out of the hop. One thing you have to do with us is work and skate. That was hard to do because he had a broken toe. We got him through that. He started to play really well. We moved his minutes up. He started producing and I haven’t had any problems with him since. He has been a real good add for us,” Trotz explained.
The 24-year old appreciates that Saturday night’s game is truly a milestone for a team that was almost sold and moved to Canada. “It is so special for the team and for the coaches. It is big for the city and the franchise.”
On Thursday night, Sergei played against the Anaheim Ducks after being in and out of the lineup with what the team has referred to as a lower-body muscle issue. Playing only 10:41 on Thursday night. When asked if he is playing near 100% Sergei smiled and said “I will feel 100% Saturday night.”
Photo credit: Getty Images
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