Sergei, Sergei, Sergei. What are we gonna do with you, boy? There you are, faster than that Mercedes you picked up as soon as you cashed your first NHL cheque. You've got better creative vision than da Vinci and softer hands than the Queen. So, why do you tick off your coaches and require periodic exile to Hamilton to remind you to be grateful for the privileged life you've been granted?
I mean, you were drafted 200th overall. Two-hundredth. You have no business being an NHL player, really. How many guys drafted in the first round never make it? About twenty percent of them, if you want to know. And the numbers don't improve as you go down the list of draftees. By the time you get to the seventh round, 200th overall, your chances of making the big time (if your name's not Zetterberg) should be about the same as skydiving with a busted 'chute and landing safely on your feet. Or finding a magic lamp with a genie inside. Or the leafs winning a Cup this year. You get what I'm saying?
But you made it. You got an incredible chance to play a game for big money, in the best hockey city in the world, with your brother on the same team. At first you cared, too. You had that excited puppy enthusiasm and you played with speed and grit. You looked like a guy who'd been coached hard by Dale Hunter. So, what happened? Is it the nice upper-middle class life you had in Belarus? Did you not have to learn the value of hard work or determination as a kid? Because if you learned it, you haven't been showing it in Montreal.
You got away with it with Carbo. He liked you, and he gave you every chance to succeed. You only had to go to Steeltown last year after you embarrassed the team with your and your brother's shady associate. So I guess it must have been a bit of a shock when Jacques the Knife rolled into town. He called you out because he didn't like your lazy play and your disinclination to follow the game plan he wants. Maybe you thought your talent would let you slide through as it always has. It's not fun to be wrong, is it? Now the coach has you sucking diesel in Hamilton instead of playing bonding games at Teen Ranch, and I don't blame him. You don't have to be right on the ice all the time, but you do have to try hard and pretend you care. You do have to be on the bus on time and listen when the coach tells you about his new system.
Listen up, though, Sergei. Jacques means business. He won't have you on the team if you don't smarten up, and the team needs your skills when you're playing like you can. There's a spot for you on the second line if you're working hard. But the Knife won't ruin the chemistry of his squad by adding a guy with attitude, no matter how good he can be. So, go to Hamilton. Suck it up and work your nuts off. Get mad and tear up the AHL. Miss the speed and skill of the NHL and get desperate to get back there and stick around. If you do, you'll be back in the big league before a dozen games are up.
If you don't, you'll be packing up your gear and your attitude and become some other team's enigma. The Habs have had enough of those in the last few years to last them another century.