Andrej Alehavič Kaścicyn (Belarusian: Андрэй Алегавiч Касціцын; born 3 February 1985), better known as Andrei Kostitsyn (Russian: Андрей Олегович Костицын), is a Belarusian professional ice hockey forward for HC Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The media have nicknamed him AK-46, a play on his initials (AK) and player number (46) in reference to the Soviet AK-47 rifle. His younger brother Sergei plays as a teammate and captain for Dinamo Minsk. Both Andrei and Sergei played together on the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators.
3 February 1985|
Novopolotsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||216 lb (98 kg; 15 st 6 lb)|
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
Kunlun Red Star
10th overall, 2003|
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, and also continued to play in the Belarusian league with Yunost Minsk.
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.
In the summer of 2004, he was invited to the Canadiens' training camp and signed a three-year deal with the club. 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 15 October 2004, 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 1 December 2005, but was limited to just one shift in a 3–2 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. He was called up again later in December and scored his first career NHL goal on 13 December against Curtis Joseph in a 5–2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Kostitsyn had a breakout season in 2007–08, playing on the Canadiens' most productive line alongside Alexei Kovalev and Tomáš Plekanec. He amassed 53 points in 78 games and was joined by his 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 postseason 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 Eastern Conference Semifinals. On 1 July 2008, he signed a three-year extension worth an annual salary of $3.25 million with the Canadiens.
Several games into the 2008–09 season, he suffered a concussion when he was checked into the boards by Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes. Kostitsyn laid on the ice for several minutes before needing to be helped off the ice. He returned to the team after missing two games. In December 2008, he missed another two games due to a minor leg injury, then returned to notch his first career NHL hat-trick on 27 December, in a 3–2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On 27 February 2012, Kostitsyn was traded to the Nashville Predators for a second-round pick in 2013 and a fifth-round pick in 2013.
On 1 May 2012, Kostitsyn and Predators' teammate Alexander Radulov were spotted at a Scottsdale bar at 5:00 a.m. the night before Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the Coyotes, thus breaking curfew. Both were subsequently suspended by the Predators' management for Game 3. Said Predators' general manager David Poile of the incident: "What they did was unacceptable and the coaches and myself had to come to the plate and do the right thing for the team. It happened. It's really unfortunate. It's selfish behavior and we'll just have to leave it at that."
Return to RussiaEdit
During the 2012 off-season, the Predators made it evident that they would not bring back Kostitsyn, although the Predators later re-signed his brother, Sergei. On 14 September 2012, Kostitsyn returned to Russia and signed a one-year contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Kostitsyn represented Belarus extensively at the under-18 and -20 levels. He first played internationally at the 2000 IIHF 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 Ice Hockey Championships' top division. Later that year, having been relegated for the 2001 IIHF 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 Ice Hockey Championships and scored three goals to help Belarus stay in the top division. Later that year, Kostitsyn returned to the top division at the 2002 IIHF World U18 Championships, recording 10 points in eight games and helping lead Belarus to a fifth place finish. Competing in his third under-20 tournament at the 2003 World Junior Ice Hockey 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 10 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.
In 2004, Kostitsyn had also made his senior international debut as a 19-year-old at the 2004 IIHF World Championship. He scored six points in five games. The following year in 2005 IIHF World Championship, 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 Championship and recorded five points in six games. At the 2008 IIHF World Championship, Kostitsyn recorded three points in five games.
On 23 December 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.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|2003–04||Yunost Minsk||EEHL B||1||0||1||1||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015–16||Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod||KHL||9||0||2||2||16||—||—||—||—||—|
|2017–18||Kunlun Red Star||KHL||22||3||10||13||16||—||—||—||—||—|
- "Andre Kostitsyn's Profile". Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Migration – Andrei Kostytsin: First guy in Montreal". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
- "Sabres seize OT victory; extend season-high winning streak to five". CBSSports.com. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- "Phoenix Coyotes at Montreal Canadiens Box Score – December 13, 2005". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Boone, Mike (9 June 2011). "Canadiens sign AK46". Hockey Inside/Out. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
He signed a three-year contract with the Canadiens on July 2, 2008.
- "Concussed Kostitsyn out for Habs". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 October 2008. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Kostitsyn hat trick puts Habs over Pens". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 December 2008. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Nashville Predators - Pittsburgh Penguins - March 22nd, 2012". NHL.com. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Stevenson, Craig (1 May 2010). "'Selfish' Preds duo suspended for breaking curfew". Toronto Sun. Nashville. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Leopards contracted with Andrei Kostitsyn" (in Russian). HC Sochi. 29 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- "Kostitsyn, Kinrade in Kunlun" (in Russian). Kontinental Hockey League. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "Andrei Kostitsyn's Profile". Montreal Canadiens. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Belarus names Olympic roster". IIHF.com. 23 December 2009. Archived from the original on 26 December 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2018.