Hockey

Kostitsyn returning to AHL, not Russia

Left-winger Sergei Kostitsyn has agreed to return to the Montreal Canadiens' American Hockey League affiliate after GM Bob Gainey suspended the 22-year-old for a second time this season on Wednesday.

Forward changes stance after meeting with Canadiens GM Gainey

Forward Sergei Kostitsyn and Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey have added another chapter to their on-again, off-again relationship.

Kostitsyn has agreed to return to the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Hamilton after meeting with Gainey, who had suspended the 22-year-old for a second time this season on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Gainey told Radio-Canada that Kostitsyn was returning to his native Russia after walking out on the AHL Bulldogs, while Russian reports had the player joining the country's Continental Hockey League (KHL).

Kostitsyn has been on shaky ground with the Canadiens ever since he was associated with a minor thug in Montreal last spring and subsequently was shipped to Hamilton to improve his work ethic.

The Russian left-winger did little to impress new Montreal head coach Jacques Martin at training camp in September, arriving in bad shape after nursing an injury in the off-season and scoring once in three exhibition games.

Kostitsyn was late for practices and meetings, missed a team bus for a pre-season game in Quebec City, and had a strip torn off him by Martin for not paying attention in practice.

He demanded to be traded after being sent down to the minors just before the end of camp. Kostitsyn held out for nearly a week and was suspended before agreeing to report. He notched two goals and four points in five games with the Bulldogs before leaving the team Tuesday night.

Hamilton, fourth in the North Division with a 4-0-2 record, begins a three-game road trip Friday at San Antonio, Texas.