Despite all of the off-ice drama surrounding Sergei Kostitsyn, the 21-year-old says he is focusing all of his attention on hockey.
Kostitsyn, who has been at the centre of a controversy surrounding alleged drug trafficker Pasquale Mangiola, played his first game for the American Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs last night after being demoted by the Canadiens on Tuesday.
The 6-foot forward refused to answer any questions regarding the ongoing police investigation -- at one point asking: "What's going on off the ice?"-- but did say he is devoting all of his energy on getting back to the NHL as soon as possible.
"When I'm playing hockey I don't think about what happens off the ice," Kostitsyn said following the Bulldogs 4-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies at the Ricoh Coliseum. "I'm trying to focus on the hockey game. That's it."
If Kostitsyn has been able to put the off-ice issues out of his head it didn't show last night. He was a non-factor against the Marlies, recording just three shots on net.
His lone scoring chance came three minutes into the first period when he was left alone in front of the net but was unable to get his stick on a centring pass in front of Toronto goaltender James Reimer.
Kostitsyn said afterwards his struggles on the ice were because he needs time to adjust to the AHL and not because of anything that might be going on in the press.
"(The AHL is) much different than the NHL," the former London Knights star said. "The first period, I didn't know what to do, but the next two periods I felt better."
The Marlies roared out to a 3-1 lead in the first period on consecutive goals by Anton Stralman, Ryan Hollweg and Jeremy Williams.
David Desharnais scored twice, including the 3-3 tiebreaker with 7:12 to play in the third.
J.T. Wyman and Ryan O'Byrne also scored.