Apparently Blues prospect Klim Kostin does not like to lose.
The big winger served as captain of Team Russia at the World Junior Championships in British Columbia. He flashed his big offensive potential while scoring three goals and adding three assists.
But after his team fell to the United States 2-1 in the semifinals Friday, Kostin did not accept defeat with grace.
During the postgame ceremony, Kostin fired his helmet across the ice when he was called to receive a commemorative watch. He dismissively gave the keepsake to a member of the Russian training staff, then refused to smile at the camera for the ceremonial photo.
Oh, and he uttered a profanity toward jeering fans. See, his English is coming along nicely!
Subsequently Kostin issued a four-paragraph apology on Twitter. In part, he (or somebody on his behalf) wrote: "I am no different than any American or Canadian. I wanted to win badly for my teammates, my family and my country. The loss was painful and hard. In my disappointment and hurt, I acted poorly.
"Apologies to the American players, apologies to the fans of Vancouver and all the hockey fans who were watching. I shouldn't have acted that way."
Kostin pulled himself together for the bronze medal game, helping lead Russia past Switzerland 5-2. "Not a bad finish for a big tournament," he told reporters after the game.
The Russians overcame their disappointment from their semifinal and leaned on the Swiss. “We had a conversation and we decided to take the bronze," Kostin said.
His teammates forgave his semifinal tantrum.
“No one likes to lose, right?” Russian defenseman Dmitri Samorukov told The Hockey News. “It’s a tough situation when all the fans are against you. Hockey is emotional. He’s a leader who wants to win. He’s a good captain and does his job: he motivates.”
Kostin scored the decisive goal against the Swiss, then plugged his ears in response to booing fans.
"The crowd was booing the Russian team and me personally," Kostin said. "When I scored, it was automatic. I did it automatically, but I didn't want to offend anyone."
While some Blues fans may chastise Kostin for demonstrating immaturity at the age of 19, others will celebrate his competitive spirit. After all, the current Blues have become way too comfortable losing games.
AROUND THE RINKS
• With the Blues continuing to fail in mind-boggling fashion, the vultures will keep circling. Count the Bruins among those eyeing forward Brayden Schenn, who failed to build on last season's breakout (70 points, plus-10 rating) this season. Schenn has one year left on his contract with a manageable $5.125 million salary cap hit before he reaches unrestricted free agency. In their dreams, Bruins fans see the Blues taking back former captain David Backes and his remaining two contract years -- with a $6 million salary cap hit. -- in a Schenn trade. But Backes, 34, has produced just 11 points in his first 34 games this season as the game passes him by. The Bruins have a surplus of decent young forwards to offer, but the Blues already have a surplus of decent young forwards.
• Reality is setting in for the Senators. They have lost eight games in a row and they haven't gotten far in contract extension talks with center Matt Duchene, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. That increases the possibility that the team could move Duchene before the trade deadline. Since their potential lottery pick for the 2019 NHL Draft is ticketed for Colorado from the earlier Duchene trade, the Senators would need to score big with any sell-off of that offensively productive center.
• Defenseman Doug Hamilton didn't really fit in with the Bruins. The same thing happened with the Flames and now he is not clicking with the Hurricanes either. He is a high-end talent and Carolina paid a big price to land him and winger Michael Ferland -- another potential restricted free agent -- so 'Canes fans must be vexed to see those names in trade rumors.
• As the Predators try to regain traction, they will get winger Filip Forsberg back from his broken hand this week. He is traveling and practicing with the team . . .
• Meanwhile the injury-depleted Ducks have lost eight consecutive games after winning nine of their previous 10 games. This another reminder that the margin between winning and losing in today's NHL is razor-thin.