It seems Kostitsyn the Younger is now willing to take his medicine and report to the Bulldogs. After several days of being AWOL and stubborn about it, it makes you wonder what or who finally got through to him. RDS was reporting earlier today that Sergei had delivered an ultimatum to the Canadiens: he'd either be traded this week or defect to the KHL. He gave an interview to a Russian journalist last week claiming bafflement about the reasons for his demotion and disillusionment with the Canadiens.
So, what happened in the meantime to change his mind? Maybe it was his agent. Don Meehan would presumably miss out on any kind of percentage from a questionably legal KHL contract, so maybe he tried to talk sense to the kid. Maybe it was the KHL. Perhaps the Russian league is actually honouring its agreement not to poach players currently under NHL contracts, and they told Sergei he's got no job there. Maybe his brother did it. Perhaps Andrei reminded Sergei about the fact that he paid his dues in Hamilton for a good long time and got rewarded with a nice contract in the NHL. It could have been his parents or Bob Gainey. Maybe one of the authority figures in his life got through to him and made him realize he's got a bright future ahead, if he accepts the roadblocks now. Or maybe he did a little soul searching and realized he's at least partially responsible for the fix in which he now finds himself and it's up to him to own up to that and apologize by reporting to Hamilton.
Maybe it's any one or a combination of those things. Or maybe it's as simple as Gainey telling Kostitsyn that he doesn't get the trade he wants unless he proves he's not a complete idiot first by reporting to Hamilton. No NHL GM is going to offer much for a guy who's a problem child. If Sergei's reputation is that of a guy who won't tow the line or listen to a respected coach like Jacques Martin, and if he appears to be willing to threaten a team with defection when he doesn't get his way, his value is pretty much next to nothing. If, however, he goes to Hamilton and appears chastened, while putting up some good numbers in the AHL, his value goes up and Gainey might get something decent for him. I think this scenario is the most likely.
I'd like to believe that Sergei Kostitsyn has learned a valuable lesson about entitlement and responsiblity. I'd like to think he's apologetic and ready to come back into the fold with a better attitude and the determination to prove himself. But I don't believe it. I think Gainey, Meehan and Kostitsyn have struck a deal to have Sergei report, play enough games to up his value and have Gainey quietly ship him out of Montreal. Not that I think Sergei has cut ties with the Habs, as much as I think Gainey has mentally cut ties with him. Bob's not the kind of guy to take disloyalty lightly, and this is the epitome of disloyalty in the NHL.
We'll see how it plays out, but I have a strong feeling this is the first line in the last chapter of Sergei Kostitsyn's story as a Hab. And it's too bad. I like his talent, and now that Max Pacioretty is proving that he's not ready for the NHL yet, he could be helpful. Just not at the cost of giving in to a childish tantrum.