Canadiens return Kostitsyn

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

The London Knights got some great news from the NHL yesterday.

Then they went out and made a trade to beef up their roster.

The good news came from the Montreal Canadiens, who returned winger Sergei Kostitsyn to the OHL. He's expected to be in the lineup tonight for the season opener against the Saginaw Spirit.

Also expected to play is left-winger Jordan Shine. The Knights gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2008 draft to get the 17-year-old from Belleville Bulls.

Shine, six-foot-two and 200 pounds, was a third-round pick in the 2004 draft by the Barrie Colts. In 62 games with the Colts and Bulls last year, he had a goal, five assists and 141 penalty minutes.

"He's a big, strong winger who skates well," Knights general manager Mark Hunter said. "We like him a lot. He can kill penalties and he'll play regularly on our third or fourth line."

Hunter needed someone to take the place of Matt Davis, who's in trouble again with the team for his off-ice activities. He was sent home last year for missing school and curfews.

Hunter recently sent Davis back to Hamilton for some of the same reasons.

"There's more off-ice trouble and that's just not going to happen on this team," Hunter said, adding he's not sure what will happen with Davis.

He wasn't going to play the first two games of the season anyway due to a suspension for coming off the bench to fight in an exhibition game.

The best news is Kostitsyn is returning. There were some questions whether the 19-year-old was going to return to London or play in the American Hockey League. Canadian Hockey League import draft picks have the right to play in the AHL before they graduate from junior hockey.

"I told you from Day 1 that he would be back," Hunter said. "Everyone knows what he can do. He makes our power play better, but we also expect him to take a leadership role on the team. He did it during the playoffs last year and we expect him to continue to do it."

Kostitsyn recorded 78 points last year, his first in the OHL, and was named to the all-rookie team.

"He's a great player, but he has to play consistently every shift," Hunter said. "He has to learn to let that animal out and if he does, we're going to see a tiger every shift."


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