Don’t look for Andrei Kostitsyn to be on the ice tomorrow night when the Montreal Canadiens play host to the Florida Panthers. But do look for Kostitsyn to take a turn on the ice during the morning skate, which is good news indeed for the Habs, and for number 46.
Head coach Guy Carbonneau emerged from today’s optional Bell Centre skate (about a dozen players, including the two goalies, took to the ice while the rest of the players worked out in the gym) to say that Kostitsyn is doing a lot better today.
“I talked to him, he’s clear, no headaches,” said Carbonneau. “We want to put him on the ice, that’s the goal, tomorrow to see how he feels. However, I have a tough time believing he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow.”
With five days off after the Panthers’ game, it’s clear that Carbonneau wants to use those five days to give Kostitsyn some time off. “I don’t want to risk his health, especially after an impact like that. I don’t want to take a chance.”
Carbonneau added that Kostitsyn can recall pretty well everything that happened last night. What happened, is that Kurt Sauer of the Coyotes took a run at Kostitsyn and plastered the Habs’ forward along the boards. It took six set of hands to help him off the ice. He did not return to the game.
Carbonneau said, from he understands, the NHL doesn’t look at the hit on Kostitsyn as a hit to the head. He disagrees.
“I’ve seen the replay 50 times. You see him (Sauer) definitely push his arm forward. I mean, his two feet leave the ice. That tells me the hit was pretty high.”
With Kostitsyn out of the lineup, for at least one game, look for The Coach to go with younger brother Sergei on the line with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev. The three played together last night after Andrei went down with his injury. You can also expect to see both Chris Higgins and defenceman Francis Bouillon in the lineup, coming off injuries, although Carbonneau says he won’t make that decision final until after tomorrow’s morning skate. Higgins would line up with Robert Lang and Tom Kostopoulos. Jaroslav Halak will get the call in goal.