He’s a goalscorer who has forgotten how to score.
How do you explain a player with his offensive skills who has no points the last eight games and one goal and five assists the last 19 games while, for the most part, playing on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri. Equally inexplicable is the fact that he leads the Canadiens with a plus-8 rating. .
The most casual of an will tell you Kostitsyn is playing terrible hockey. An offensive player now relegated to a checking role on the fourth line with Jeff Halpern and Tom Pyatt.
This is the second coming of Alexei Kovalev, a nightmare Jacques Martin didn’t have to deal with. .
The heirarchy of sports is a constant. A team’s general manager is responsible for acquiring players. He then turns them over to the coach who’s job it is to make the best of what he has. In other words, at this point in time, Jacques Martin is stuck with Kostitsyn until such time as Pierre Gauthier decides to get rid of him.
An unusually candid Martin told the media today,
“I learned long ago that as a coach, you have to deal with the elements you have at hand. You don’t dream of having this player or that one.I coach the players who are here and my job is to extract their best.”
Getting rid of Kostitsyn might not be easy. Any team with marginal interest would have to deal with around a 1.6 million remaining cap hit on his current 3.25 million dollar conttract. In the current financial climate that’s still a significant undertaking. The upside is the fact that he’ll be 26 on July first and a restricted free agent with little negotiation leverage when it comes to signing a new contract.
Now, if he would go on one of his streaks, like the one that opened his season. In the opening nine games of the season he scored 6 goals and 4 assists. In his 36 games since he has four goals and nine assists.
It’s abundantly clear Martin has lost patience. Now it’s up to Gauthier.