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Born February 3, 1985 (1985-02-03) (age 25),
Navapolatsk, Byelorussian SSR,
Soviet Union
Height
Weight
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team Montreal Canadiens
Ntl. team  Belarus
NHL Draft 10th overall, 2003
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 2003 – present

Andrei Olegovich Kostitsyn (Belarusian: Андрэй Касьціцын; born February 3, 1985) is a Belarusian professional ice hockey forward currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). His younger brother Sergei also plays for the Canadiens.

Contents

Playing career

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Europe

Beginning in 2000–01, Kostitsyn spent the first two seasons of his early career with Polimir Novopolotsk, competing in several leagues, including the Eastern European Hockey League (EEHL). In the summer of 2002, he signed with CSKA Moscow and moved to Russia. He split his time with the organization between CSKA 2 of Russia's developmental league[1] and also continued to play in the Belarusian league with Yunost.

After his first season with CSKA, he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, tenth overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Kostitsyn drew favourable scouting reports from his strong showing at the 2003 World U-18 Championships and was expected to be taken even higher in the draft; it is speculated that health concerns with his back caused teams to pass him over.[1]

Montreal Canadiens

In the summer of 2004, he was invited to the Montreal Canadiens' training camp and signed a three-year deal with the club.[2] He was subsequently assigned to the Canadiens' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, for the 2004–05 season. He scored his first goal with Hamilton in his first game, on October 15, 2004,[citation needed] and finished the season with 23 points in 66 games.

Midway through the 2005–06 season, he was called up by the Canadiens and played his first National Hockey League (NHL) game on December 1, 2005, but was limited to just one shift in an overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres.[3] He was called up again later in December and scored his first career NHL goal on December 13 against Curtis Joseph in a 5–2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.[4]

Kostitsyn had a breakout season in 2007–08, playing on Montreal's most productive line alongside Alexei Kovalev and Tomáš Plekanec. He amassed 53 points in 78 games and was joined by younger brother Sergei, who had been called up from Hamilton, midway through the season. Entering the playoffs with the Canadiens as the first seed, Andrei and Sergei both scored in their NHL post-season debuts against the Boston Bruins less than two minutes apart. They also both finished with eight points each in 12 playoff games. However, the Canadiens were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. On July 1, 2008, Andrei signed a three-year extension worth an annual salary of $3.25 million with the Canadiens.[5]

Several games into the 2008–09 season, he suffered a concussion when he was checked into the boards by defenceman Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes. Kostitsyn lay on the ice for several minutes before needing to be helped off the ice.[6] He returned to the team after missing two games. In December, he missed another two games due to a minor leg injury, then returned to notch his first career NHL hat trick on December 27, 2008, in a 3–2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.[7]

International play

Kostitsyn represented Belarus extensively at the under-18 and -20 levels. He first played internationally at the 2000 World U18 Championships as a fifteen-year-old, but Belarus would struggle in the top division, finishing last. The next year, Kostitsyn competed with Belarus' under-20 team in the 2001 World Junior Championships' top division. Later that year, having been relegated for the 2001 World U18 Championships, Kostitsyn returned to record a tournament leading 14 points in five games within the second-tier to win the Division I championship.

Kostitsyn made his second under-20 appearance at the 2002 World Junior Championships and scored 3 goals to help Belarus stay in the top division. Later that year, Kostitsyn returned to the top division at the 2002 World U18 Championships, recording 10 points in 8 games and helping lead Belarus to a fifth place finish. Competing in his third under-20 tournament at the 2003 World Junior Championships, Kostitsyn recorded two goals and one assist, but was relegated with Belarus to Division-I for 2004. Playing in the second-tier, he notched five goals and ten points in five games to help Belarus return to the top division in 2005, where he scored five points in his fifth and final World Juniors.[8]

In 2004, Kostitsyn had also made his senior international debut as a nineteen-year-old at the World Championships in Division-I. He scored six points in five games. The following year in 2005, however, he did not record a point in six games playing in the top division. Following his rookie season in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2006, he played in his third consecutive World Championships and recorded five points in six games. At the 2008 World Championships, Kostitsyn managed three points in five games.

On December 23, 2009, Kostitsyn was selected along with his younger brother Sergei, Mikhail Grabovski and Ruslan Salei as the only four current NHL players to represent Belarus in the 2010 Olympics[9].

Off the ice

In February 2009, La Presse reported that Andrei, along with his brother Sergei and defenceman Roman Hamrlík, had links with Pasquale Mangiola, a member of an organized crime organization, who was arrested as part of Operation Axe during the month and charged with firearms and drugs offense. According to ESPN, the NHL sent officials to investigate the links between the players and Mangiola, though La Presse also reported that the three players were not involved in any criminal activities and no investigation against them is planned.[10] They were cleared of any wrong doing later in 2009[11] .

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2000–01 Polimir Novopolotsk Belarus 1 2 1 3 2
2000–01 Polimir Novopolotsk EEHL 5 1 0 1 0
2000–01 Yunost Minsk Belarus 3 1 4 5 8
2000–01 Vitebsk Belarus 17 17 6 23 42
2001–02 Polimir Novopolotsk Belarus 17 9 6 15 28
2001–02 Polimir Novopolotsk EEHL 29 9 8 17 16
2001–02 Yunost Minsk Belarus 6 2 0 2 8
2002–03 CSKA Moscow RSL 6 0 0 0 2
2002–03 Khimik Moscow Oblast RSL-2 2 1 1 2 0
2002–03 Yunost Minsk Belarus 4 6 4 10 43
2002–03 CSKA Moscow 2 RSL-3 3 2 2 4 25
2003–04 CSKA Moscow RSL 12 0 1 1 2
2004–05 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 66 12 11 23 24 3 0 0 0 0
2005–06 Montreal Canadiens NHL 12 2 1 3 2
2005–06 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 64 18 29 47 76
2006–07 Montreal Canadiens NHL 22 1 10 11 6
2006–07 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 50 21 31 52 50
2007–08 Montreal Canadiens NHL 78 26 27 53 29 12 5 3 8 2
2008–09 Montreal Canadiens NHL 74 23 18 41 50 4 1 0 1 2
Belarus totals 47 35 20 55 129
AHL totals 180 51 71 122 150 3 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 186 52 56 108 87 16 6 3 9 4

International

Year Team Event   GP G A P PIM
2000 Belarus U18 6 0 0 0 4
2001 Belarus U18-B 5 7 7 14 8
2001 Belarus WJC 6 0 0 0 2
2002 Belarus U18 8 7 3 10 18
2002 Belarus WJC 6 3 0 3 0
2003 Belarus U18 6 6 9 15 28
2003 Belarus WJC 6 2 1 3 0
2003 Belarus WC 2 1 0 1 2
2004 Belarus WJC-B 5 5 5 10 12
2004 Belarus WC-B 5 3 3 6 0
2005 Belarus WJC 5 1 4 5 6
2005 Belarus WC 6 0 0 0 4
2006 Belarus WC 6 1 4 5 6
2008 Belarus WC 5 2 1 3 18
Junior int'l totals 58 34 32 66 78
Senior int'l totals 7 8 15 30

References

External links


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