o The guys are brothers, but apparently that's not enough for nhl.com to spell their surnames identically. Kostsitsyn? Kastsitsyn? The Canadiens' page spells it a third way: Kostitsyn. There must be someone out there who can offer some consistent written translation of languages that use the cyrillic alphabet.
o Speaking of Sergei/Siarhei, there was a recent Mike Boone post at Habs I/O that said Dale Hunter believed Sergei/Siarhei was more NHL-ready than his London Knights linemates Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane. That may be. Of the three, only Kane (playing with Toews and Ruutu) has played a significant role in the NHL this season, and consensus is that it was he who drove results in London.
After working for 2+ years before earning a spot in the Canadiens' lineup, I wonder how Andrei - the older, more experienced, bigger, faster, and more skilled of the two - feels about his kid brother being airlifted onto the top line and getting more minutes?
o In the eight games since this post the Habs' EV shot differential has dropped considerably. Through 24 games, they were getting outshot 30.1 to 31.9 per 60. In the last eight games they've been outshot 24.4 to 31.5. Carbonneau's frantic line juggling is not working.
o Is Randy McKay's real first name Hugh???
o On the Mike Richards deal...
One NHL GM, who obviously wanted anonymity, said he didn't understand the point of the Richards deal.
"He's not a $6-million player next year and he still would have been a restricted free agent," said the GM. "The guy had 32 points last year. I know he's had a great eight weeks so far... but could you not have just done a three-year deal at $4 million per year and then re-address it after that? Maybe do eight or nine years at that point when you have a better handle on what the player is all about?"
Why would an NHL GM bitch about it? If it's a bad deal, it's primarily bad for the Flyers. I suppose it could be bad news if you have some comparable players approaching RFA and possible arbitration. If this contract overvalues Richards in a compensation structure with a cap and linkage, it just means someone else out there must be undervalued. A smart GM would shut up about the Flyers' dealings and exploit the undervalued segment of the player market.
o Koivu's two goals on Saturday were his first two 5-on-5 goals this season. He had one other EV goal that was scored 4-on-4. Before anyone mistakes me for Al Strachan, I'm *not* saying Koivu is underperforming. He's having a better season than last year. I could watch a video loop of him shredding Ian White down low for hours. If by some freak accident both Saku Koivu and I get invited to the same holiday party, he should stay away from the mistletoe.
o The Leafs looked bagged in that game. It seems like there have been a lot of games this year where a team will play back-to-back games, but their opponent in the second game does not. That said, how stupid is it to dress Belak in that situation? With a tired team, Maurice needed four usable lines.