So, here's the gist of the Kostitsyn brothers scandal from what I've read so far: the two brothers are linked in some fashion to a mobster named Pasquale Mangiola (along with Roman Hamrlik - who might just have the most mob-friendly name in the NHL). From what is out there right now, the Kostitsyns were not directly linked with any criminal activities.
It seems that Mangiola simply wanted to be linked to hockey players and the Kostitsyns wanted to be linked with fast cars, hard booze and loose women. You'd think that would be the new example of a "symbiotic relationship" in the next edition of Biology textbooks, but apparently it just gets you in hot water. (No word on whether or not Mangiola berated Sergei for buying his girlfriend an expensive fur coat, though.)
At this point, this thing seems like it can go down two paths: a) this could simply be an example of mixing with the wrong people along with the Montreal media's apparent lack of restraint OR b) the details are blurry right now and won't come into focus until a harrowing trial. Either way, it's just more bad news and more bad PR for a Montreal Canadiens team that is falling apart worse than Syd Barrett on acid.
Obviously, this thing is still in it's infant stage, but here are my initial thoughts:
- At least it's likely the NHL won't have to worry about widespread US coverage.
Can you imagine some beleaguered copy assistant/intern at a newspaper saying "Fuck this job, I'm not looking up the spelling of their last names. I've had enough of this shit." Trying to look on the bright side here, folks.
- Joe Pelletier deserves credit for his considerable foresight on this one.
He recently posted regarding a book he read about soccer players accepting bribes from mobsters and, quite reasonably asked, "why would this happen in soccer and not in other sports like hockey?"It doesn't mean that the Kostitsyns were Pete Rose-ing games, but that post numbed me to this news. Perhaps it otherwise would have been shocking, but that definitely blunted the blow.
- This might shed some interesting light on the surreal Kostitsyn-Grabovski vendetta. Perhaps the things that Grabovski said that got back to the Ko-bros involved making fun of their mob connections.
Or (Bettman wipes sweat from his Napoleonic brow) maybe Big Grab simply was scoreboarding the Ko-bros because his mafia could beat up their mafia.
- After what feels like a decade of steroid scandals, spousal abuse stories, Leonard Little running over everyone in the general St. Louis, Mo. area and so on ... it's a watershed moment for the oversaturation of bad news. Especially with the whole "economic meltdown" happening outside of the sports world.
At this point, most sports fans probably understand that they're not always rooting for upstanding, apple-pie-cooling-in-the-windowsill people. Some of these guys are racists, some are alleged rapists, some cheat, some chase women and on and on. Really, unless the Kostitsyns were electrocuting dogs and promoting the involuntary deflowering of girl scouts, this might not register in my cynical, battered soul. God/Joe Pesci help us all.