Two days ago, Kurtis Coombs became the new mayor of Paradise, Newfoundland. The town is young, vibrant and growing rapidly. In fact, it's the fastest-growing community in the country, thanks to the oil-rich economy on the Avalon Penninsula. The new mayor is young, vibrant and probably still growing too, as he's only 19 years old. A kid who's a second-year poli-sci student in university, who's still living at home with his parents, has taken on the leadership of a rapidly sprawling town with many complex issues that need a mayor's attention.
Yesterday, Sergei Kostitsyn became the latest Habs' draftee to run away from his responsibilities to the team that drafted him and look for an easier way to translate hockey to money. At twenty-two, Kostitsyn has decided that, despite having proven very little at the NHL level, he's entitled to a full-time job with the Canadiens. Bob Gainey, believing otherwise, sent him to Hamilton. At which point, Sergei, the Entitled One, has decided to look for an NHL team whose GM thinks he's ready for big money in North America NOW.
What a contrast, don't you think? On one hand, we have a 19-year-old who's trying to balance school and life while taking on the leadership of an entire community because he believes he can make a difference in people's lives. On the other hand, we've got a 22-year-old who thinks he deserves a lot of money and prestige because he can successfully chase a small piece of vulcanized rubber around an enclosed ice surface. The comparison kind of puts things into perspective for me.
I think Sergei Kostitsyn has a lot of growing up to do. And the first step in the process is removing his head from his own back passage. There are kids in the world who are raising money for cancer research, or achieving college scholarships, or winning Olympic medals or running municipal governments. Then there are guys like Sergei who think the world owes them something because they're pretty good at hockey. The comparison removes any concessions to youth that might otherwise have fallen in Sergei's favour. There are no excuses for being a me-first personality, including youth or inexperience.
The question now is how Bob Gainey can salvage this situation. I think he'll let Sergei stew, partially to teach the head-case a lesson, and partially because the kid's trade value is nil right now. Maybe, by some miracle of maturity, Sergei will come back and apologize and work hard to prove his worth. I'm not expecting that. I think, in the end, there'll be a standoff resulting in a grudging appearance in Hamilton by Kostitsyn, followed by a quiet trade to some rotten team like Phoenix, for a third-rounder.
It's too bad. Kostitsyn has potential. But we know, after last season, how a player's lack of interest in joining the rest of the team in a common pursuit can hurt. And, if the kid's not with us, he's against us.
I just wish I could introduce Kostitsyn to Kurtis Coombs. Maybe he'd learn a lesson or two about what it means to think outside one's self.