Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Suck It, Sergei

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.


harmonielehre said...

nice contrast. 19 year old mayor with priorities straight. wow.

azac said...

Well said.

pfhabs said...


-well written, poignant and too true.

-unfortunately Sergui may never learn this lesson that sits in front of him and that will make him less of an individual than he could be inhabiting this blue planet let alone a v good hockey player which I think he can be

Scott in Montreal said...


i was 22 and learning to play guitar and learning to run student newspapapers and I had a comeuppance and i realized i wasn't the Chosen One or even the Chosen One's shoe-shine boy. Sergei's manager is one Don Meehan btw. Meehan and the NHL's biggest brats are seldom far removed from one another.

pierre said...

Asking to be trade like he did is to me proof that Sergei's attitude was indeed bad enough to be a problem in any team..... never mind one from which higher commitment are required by the players from their coach as it now hapenned to be the case here under Martin.

Martin's system of play is best played when the players playing it have been through a period of body conditioning and eating regiment designed to shape up the hatletes in certain specifics ways...... I really like the change of culture under way here and where Martin is leading us into the futur....
S.K. has the tools but obviously not the heart nor the discipline to come along so I wont missed him.

Unknown said...

I don't think we fully realize the impact of the Dany Heatley standoff in Ottawa. I think he (Dany) had a negative impact on players such as Sergei. It's not that S.K. didn't realize he has power but Dany took it to a new level and was, quite simply, a bad role model for kids like Sergei.
Things will get a whole lot worse in the rest of the NHL and it'll be interesting to see how the GM collective deal with the problem.

Scott in Montreal said...

Leila, don't forget: before Heatley there was Yashin. Before Yashin there was Lindros (or more importantly, Lindros's dad) who wouldn't report to Quebec.

Unknown said...

Re: Scott in Montreal

Surely you don't think these guys were Sergei's role models. Dany Heatley is someone extremely talented and someone he's played against.That's why I used that example.
I think Dany has given talented young hockey players the illusion that pouting is going to get them what they want. Much like some teenagers who use their belligerent attitudes to push their parents around! Now, Bob Gainey doesn't strike me as that kind of 'parent' but if Sergei gets what he wants then his ilk will have won again.

Anonymous said...

As an FYI it's no longer Gainey that will decide of the kid's future with the Habs.

In case you forgot Gauthier took over and it's up to him to salvage this situation or not.