Kostitsyn settling in Nashville

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 PM ET

NASHVILLE — It wouldn’t seem likely that a Belarusian winger who can’t stand country music would find a home sweet home in Nashville.

But after wearing out his welcome (big time) in Montreal, Sergei Kostitsyn is finally closing the gap on his potential here in Music City

Kostitsyn was a bust from the word go in Montreal, posting 27- and 23-point seasons before being twice suspended and eventually cut by the Canadiens for mediocre play and refusing to report to the AHL to try and fix it.

But he’s a new man now, with 30 points in 49 games and an attitude to match the stats.

“Coach give me lots of ice time, PK, PP, five on five,” said the happy Pred. “When you’re playing a lot you feel more comfortable every game. When you’re playing a lot you know the coach trusts you so you feel better about yourself and it helps your confidence.”

Former London Knight teammate Sam Gagner is glad his buddy is finally on track.

“It’s just a matter of finding a fit where he’s comfortable,” said Gagner. “He’s always had that skill. I remember from playing with him that he can beat you so many different ways. He’s strong on the puck, has an aggressive style, good on special teams. He’s a great player, it was just a matter of finding the right fit for him.”

He wilted under the incessant spotlight in Montreal, but rather enjoys the freedom and relative anonymity that comes with a place like Nashville.

“It’s not like in Montreal, every time you go somewhere it’s the paper the next day. It’s easier here than Montreal.”

Even if he can’t stomach Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney.

“I don’t like country music. I heard it once in the bars and I don’t really like it.”

TOOTOO ON TRACK: Jordin Tootoo is skating closer to action after being enrolled in the NHL’s substance abuse program. He’s out on the ice with his teammates, awaiting a green light from the league.

“Jordin is fine, he’s been working out,” said Preds coach Barry Trotz. “His situation is really clear - once the doctors allow him to play (he’s in). He’s in great shape. It’s all about making sure that everything is order for him to be successful coming out of the program. He’s doing great with it. I’m excited when he gets cleared to be ready to go.”

WELCOME BACK: With Peter Forsberg pulling a Brett Favre, he could be taking on his old team this weekend when the Avs visit the Preds.

“He’s probably the biggest star we’ve ever had come through,” said Trotz, who only had the injury-riddled Forsberg for 17 games. “He has an aura about him … but the thing that really surprised me about Peter is the fact he’s really a genuine superstar and a genuine guy.

“He fit in here really easily. Unfortunately he was so banged up he missed a lot of time. I hope he’s healthy, it will be nice to see him come back in Nashville. He wasn’t ere long but he had a major impact in the way he handled himself.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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