The Scene: A sixth-floor corner office at the Bell Centre
(an angry Sergei Kostitsyn waits with his agent, Don Meehan)
Sergei: Where is this Bob? I wait ten minutes already. My bottom is start to hurt.
Meehan: Listen, kid, if you want out of Hamilton, you're going to have to play by the boss's rules here.
Sergei: Hemilton stink! I not stink. Why he does send me there?
Meehan: Sergei, we've been over this. Mr.Gainey is all about work ethic. He doesn't care as much about flashy play if you're not working hard. He's just making a point, and if you listen to the coach, you'll be back in the NHL in two weeks, max.
Sergei: Bah! Max! He is not more better than me. He steenk. No goals for him, and me in Hemilton instead of him.
Meehan: Did you miss everything else I said there? Just listen to the coach and Mr.Gainey will call you back to the NHL.
Sergei: Mantreal. Ptuh. I spit on Mantreal. I pley in Pittsburgh and win Cup with great Malkin.
Lots of maney there. You like maney, right Donnie?
Meehan: (clears throat, shifting uncomfortably) Well, we're not here to talk about me. This is about you, and you're going to have to be a bit more agreeable if this is going to go well.
Sergei: I em agree. I agree pley in NHL. I ken pley here. I show it already and now I em needing maney. The benk want my pey for nice wheels, but it too small maney in Hemilton. My friends want the friendship maney. I not carpool with Darche!
Meehan: Sergei, do I want to know what "friendship money" is? Oh, never mind, he's coming.
(Door whispers open and a grim-faced Gainey enters. He walks around his desk without acknowledging the two sitting in front of it. He takes his seat.)
Gainey: (steeples fingers, fixes a steely eye on the kid slumping sullenly across from him) So, Sergei, how are you doing?
Sergei: I em engry. I em in Hemilton, not Mantreal. I pley in NHL, or I go home.
Gainey: That's interesting, Sergei. Why do you think you should be in the NHL?
Sergei: You tell him, Donnie.
Gainey: No, actually, you tell me, Sergei. Why should you be here?
Sergei: You sey I pley in Mantreal. Then you sey Hemilton. I need the maney. No maney in Hemilton. And Hemilton shameful. A men to be in the NHL, then sent away, is embarrassed.
Gainey: Well, the deal is, we give you money and a spot in the NHL and you give us hard work and your best hockey on the ice. You also give us respectful behaviour off the ice. That's how it works in Montreal. Do you think you've given us your best?
Meehan: (interrupting) Bob, Bob, Bob...this kid barely speaks English. I'm not sure he understands what you're telling him. We both know your team is desperate for a second-line winger, and we both know Sergei's the best prospect in your organization to fill that slot. You need him. So, let's allow this to blow over, and we'll talk about how we'll spin it to the press.
Gainey: Oh, I think Sergei understands perfectly well what I'm saying. He thinks he can mail it in and still have the perks of an NHL job, either here or somewhere else. He believes he holds all the cards and we're so desperate for his services that we'll accept his behaviour without consequences. Well, think again, kid.
(Gainey rises slowly from behind the desk, shrugs off his nicely-tailored jacket, loosens his tie and resumes his seat, elbow on the desk.)
Here's how I see it. I believe in second chances, but you're pushing your luck. And let me make it clear, you do things my way or you rot in Hemil...Hamilton. I'm not too worried about whether you take my money or someone else does. I know your fine agent here gets diddly squat if you play with the Bulldogs, or in Russia, so he's probably not thrilled with you at the moment either. I haven't decided whether to give you another shot. That's up to you, so put 'er here.
(Gainey flexes his arm on the desktop)
Sergei: I em not knowing what you want. You...arm-fight me?
Gainey: Yup. You beat me, you get the trade you want. I beat you, you shut your spoiled mouth and go back to Hamilton until I'm good and ready to call you back.
Sergei: (aside to Meehan) Donnie, is this Bob allow to do this to me?
Meehan: I think it's in your best interest to listen to the man, Sergei.
Sergei: I em not want to hurt old men.
Gainey: (staring implacably) I'll be okay, now let's get on with it.
(Sergei straightens, looks uncertainly at Meehan, then slowly plants his elbow on the desk. The two grip hands and begin to push.)
Two minutes later:
Gainey: Are you okay, Sergei? Sometimes I get a bit carried away.
Sergei: (grimacing and rubbing his wrist) I em okay. Now what heppens?
Gainey: You go on the roadtrip with the Bulldogs tomorrow. You stop talking to the press, and you don't go to the toilet without Guy Boucher's permission. You do that for two weeks and we'll talk again.
Sergei: I em be traded?
Gainey: I'll let you know. Two weeks. You want an NHL job, you do your part and don't worry about mine.
Sergei: Okay Bob. Two weeks.
(Sergei and Meehan quietly leave the office)
Gainey: Jeez, some people's kids.
Gainey: Hello? Oh, hi Peter. Really? You're interested in Sergei Kostitsyn? Hmm. Well, I know you need some scoring and you can't afford to really take much of a cap hit. The kid could be a steal for you when Savard gets back. Okay, I'll do it for the leafs first pick. Those guys won't be in the basement for long, Burkie says so. (catches breath) Yeah, sorry...didn't mean to make you choke. Seriously, I'll do it for your pick. You get the help now, plus you keep the lottery pick from the leafs. Deal? Okay. Just a word of advice though? Let him stew in Hamilton for a couple weeks before we announce this. He'll be busy learning a lesson.