Kostitsyn settling in Nashville

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 PM ET

NASHVILLE It wouldnt seem likely that a Belarusian winger who cant 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 hes 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 youre playing a lot you feel more comfortable every game. When youre 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.

Its just a matter of finding a fit where hes comfortable, said Gagner. Hes always had that skill. I remember from playing with him that he can beat you so many different ways. Hes strong on the puck, has an aggressive style, good on special teams. Hes 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.

Its not like in Montreal, every time you go somewhere its the paper the next day. Its easier here than Montreal.

Even if he cant stomach Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney.

I dont like country music. I heard it once in the bars and I dont really like it.

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

Jordin is fine, hes been working out, said Preds coach Barry Trotz. His situation is really clear - once the doctors allow him to play (hes in). Hes in great shape. Its all about making sure that everything is order for him to be successful coming out of the program. Hes doing great with it. Im 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.

Hes probably the biggest star weve 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 hes 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 hes healthy, it will be nice to see him come back in Nashville. He wasnt 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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