Friday, the Monteal Canadiens announced that they re-signed forward Mathieu Darche to a new one-year deal, reportedly worth $700,000. On Thursday, the Habs inked another one-year deal, this one with restricted free agent (and noted under-achiever) Andrei Kosititsyn. The Kostitsyn deal is reportedly for $3.25 million, the same bread he made this past season.
Over here at Top Shelf With BK world headquarters, we’re super pumped that key role player Darche is coming back and not so enthused that enigmatic Habs GM Pierre Gauthier has decided to give another chance to AK46.
It’s true that AK landed fourth on the team in scoring and third in goals last season, with 20 goals and 25 assists, but that says more about the team’s lackluster offense than it does about Kostitsyn’s skill putting the puck in the net. Let’s get real here. For most of the season, he appeared to be playing in some kind of a daze and he continues to be most notable for his uncanny ability to avoid coming into anything resembling physical contact with the other team’s players.
He is yet another in a long list of Habs from the past 20 years who has all kinds of talent - but it’s talent our team can’t seem to harnass. Like John Leclair, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Ribiero, Michael Ryder and Andrei’s younger brother Sergei, AK46 will likely eventually be traded and suddenly discover his scoring touch elsewhere. This whole syndrome is one of the mysteries of hockey life in Montreal. That said, maybe he’ll suddenly come to life next season. We can always hope, right?
Now Darche is the guy I’m happy to see back. The 34-year-old forward had a great year, scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists in 59 games. He is a third or fourth-line grinding kind of guy who is like the polar opposite of Kostitsyn – Darche doesn’t have enormous skill, but he’s all heart and grit, something in short supply on the bleu-blanc-et-rouge. Over his career, he’s spent more time in the minors than anywhere else and as he pointed out in the show Nos Canadiens, he more than anyone is aware just how privileged he is to be playing a regular shift with the Habs. In other words, there’s no ego issues here.
In the press release, Darche says he’s feeling fine following abdominal surgery in mid-May and is in midst of his rehabilitation program.
So who’s next on Gauthier’s signing list? Gotta think it’s a fellow named Andrei Markov.
This is classic Darche. Check out his hit on Peter Regin from the Ottawa Senators.
And now here’s the flip-side – not-so-classic Kostitsysn (actually classic Timmy Thomas) with the Bruins goalie just leveling AK46.