Skip to content
Sergei Kostitsyn: the CH never coached him properly
Credit: The youngest Kostitsyn spent the last 3 seasons in the KHL.

When they played for the Montreal Canadiens, the Kostitsyn brothers often made headlines… for all the wrong reasons.

From the outside, it was said that the two young men didn’t seem to be children at heart, and questions were often asked about their desire to play and perform in the National League. The guys went out to bars and had bad habits…

Which made them hard to like in the bedroom.

Hal Gill was “lucky” enough to rub shoulders with them during his time in town, and the former defenseman doesn’t hold many fond memories. On the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, Gill recounted how Sergei, the younger of the two brothers, was such a “bad person” that he didn’t want him around personally.

That says a lot about how they were perceived in Montreal.

But Gill’s story takes a completely different turn. On February 17, 2012, the defenseman was traded to the Predators and joined Sergei in Nashville.

Remember that in the summer of 2010, the Canadiens had decided to send Kostitsyn elsewhere due to a number of controversies.

All this to say that when Gill arrived in Nashville, he was warmly welcomed by the man he didn’t like in Montreal. Sergei seemed so happy to see him that the defenseman could hardly believe it was the same person…

And on the ice, at that moment, Sergei was having a good time. So Hal Gill went to Barry Trotz, who was coach at the time, to ask him what he’d done about Kostitsyn’s change in attitude, and the former coach’s answer is worth its weight in gold:

Barry (Trotz) told me that every morning, he took the time to sit down with him to eat a bowl of cereal and talk to him. – Hal Gill

Sometimes, it can be as simple as that. Sergei Kostitsyn, at heart, wasn’t a “bad person”.

He just needed guidance and moral support to see life differently. And the Canadiens were never able to offer him that.

It’s often said that it can be difficult for a young player to stay grounded when starting out in any professional league because of the money and benefits that come with an athlete’s “pro” status. The case of Sergei Kostistyn explains it well.

The Belarusian’s stay in Nashville ended in 2013, when he exiled himself to Russia to play in the KHL.

That said, based on the fact that he was named captain of his club (Minsk Dynamo) in 2018, it suggests to me that Barry Trotz has done a hell of a job with Sergei Kostitsyn’s attitude problem.

And in the end… Barry Trotz was able to do something the CH never did, which was to help Sergei Kostitsyn deal with his attitude issues.

In gusto

– Good piece on the Erik Karlsson deal.

– Mike Babcock looks forward to seeing the passion of the fans in Columbus.

– Take a quick five minutes to check out this story. You’ll thank me afterwards.

– Great news.

– Happy Birthday, Kobe.

More Content