Kostitsyn situation becoming messy

ANDRE CYR, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

CALEDON, Ont. -- Sergei Kostitsyn may have played his last game as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

While Kostitsyn still is a member of the Montreal club, his absence from the Hamilton Bulldogs practice yesterday could speak volumes.

The Habs have suspended Kostitsyn without pay and he has asked, through his agent Don Meehan, to be traded. As of yesterday afternoon nobody within the organization had any idea what was happening with the youngest Kostitsyn brother.

While Montreal GM Bob Gainey wouldn't confirm that Kostitsyn was on the trading block, he didn't seem to be champing at the bit to see him back in a Habs uniform.

"I'd like Sergei to go to Hamilton and find his game from a year ago," said the GM.

Kostitsyn was demoted to Hamilton -- the second time he has been sent to the AHL -- by Habs coach Jacques Martin on Sunday because of what appeared to be difficulties in following the new coach's system, as well as for displaying iffy work habits.

Another strike against Kostitsyn came a few days ago when he missed the bus to the preseason game against the Boston Bruins.

Does Kostitsyn's absence from the Hamilton camp indicate he could be on his way to playing hockey in Russia?

"I haven't discussed the situation with my brother," said fellow Hab Andrei Kostitsyn, who didn't seem impressed with the sudden surge of reporters around him. "It's his choice (not to go to Hamilton).

"It's his choice," he repeated. "Sergei is 22, he is old enough to decide what he needs to do. I'll admit, however, that this situation isn't easy."

Andrei did stress that he is happy with his team.

"From my side, I will continue to do what they ask me to do and all I want to do is help my team win games."


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