Yesterday Sergei Kostitsyn left the Canadiens practice ice early Tuesday morning. Minutes later, returning to the dressing rook after his pre-game routine, Carey Price unloaded on Kostitsyn in the dressing room.
Today, Kostitsyn did not take part in the team’s morning skate. Jacques Martin met with him and told him to work out in the gym, away from the team, clearly a disciplinary move designed to defuse any residual dressing room toxicity. How permanent it is, remains to be seen.
Disappointed or not, reserve players, because they’re not getting regular ice time in games, must put in extra practice time in order to remain ready for any possible roster contingency. Neither Price nor Kostitsyn has played since game four of the Washington series.
According to Bill Beacon of Canadian Press, the Price/Kostitsyn exchange went this way.
“Why weren’t you on the ice?” an angry Price asked Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn mumbled something and kept walking, and Price called after him “too good?”
Mathieu Darche, who was dressed but played not one second in game three and only 52 seconds in game two, understands the need for the extra work. Darche, like Ben Maxwell has skated in every optional practice and has remained on the ice after the regulars have returned to the room simply for that reason. Kostitsyn, meanwhile, has a history of failing to get the message dating back to training camp in September. For a long time, the Canadiens considered it a lack of maturity and rode out the sulking. Now it’s time to start thinking there are other factors at play here, including out-and-out laziness and off-ice issues.
Darche, meanwhile, will be back in the lineup tonight, although, again, his speed deficiency may limit his work-load. He practiced with Dominic Moore and Maxim Lapierre this morning. Price of course will be in his customary chair next to the Canadiens entrance gate, cheering on Jaroslav Halak.
One could legitimately speculate that the Canadiens have seen enough of the Kostitsyn brothers. Andrei, outside of one game against Washington, has been unproductive in the playoffs and is earning 3.25 million dollars and Sergei, an upcoming restricted free agent, just keeps on being Sergei. Facing the task of resigning Tomas Plekanec and the two goaltenders in the off-season, salary dumping is going to be a necessity. The logical place to start would be the two brothers.