Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, Roman Hamrlik Linked to Police Investigation

Kevin van Steendelaar@@LeTirEtLeButAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2009

As the Montreal Canadiens chartered home from Pittsburgh, returning from a six-game road trip that saw them go 1-4-1, a worse fate was awaiting them when they arrived.

After the Canadiens 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, RDS's post-game program L'Antichambre reported that Richard Labbe of Montreal's French-print newspaper La Presse will run a jaw-dropping article that will shock the city of Montreal and their team's fans.

The article allegedly was to centre on the off-ice social activities of several Canadiens players, an issue recently brought to light earlier in the week by former coach Jean Perron. Players cited by Perron included forwards Christopher Higgins, Sergei Kostitsyn, and goaltender Carey Price.

Though the Canadiens have had a history of "party-boys" throughout their 100-year history, most notably since the '70s, Labbe is also pointing in a direction that criminal charges may be pending as a result of these recent activities.

As of 2 a.m. the article has now been released.

From a rough translation it appears that Sergei and brother Andrei Kostitsyn had close relations with one Pasquale Magnolia.

Magnolia, 38, was one of 50 people arrested on February 12 in Montreal as  part of a police operation known as "Axis". He faces six charges of conspiracy, possession and trafficking of cocaine, and carrying of prohibited firearms.

Magnolia was allegedly an intermediary between three Montreal street gangs all under the payroll of the Hell's Angels.

He is a big hockey fan and through police wire taps, it was learned he was regularly in contact with the Kostitsyns.

He was even spotted with the brothers at several parties and restaurants in the Montreal area.

How the Kostitsyns came to befriend Magnolia is unsure, but police sources seem to reveal that he provided or advised the Belorussians with many luxuries from housing and cars to vodka or women.

Whatever the Kostitsyns needed, this man got it for them

Credit card statements belonging to the Kostitsyns, as well as Montreal Canadiens documents were also reportedly found in Magnolia's possession.

Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik has also been reportedly spotted in the presence of Magnolia, but the article reports that his connection was not as detailed as the Kostitsyns'.

The Kostitsyn's agent, Don Meehan, is denying any connection between his clients and Magnolia.

Though none of the players noted have been charged with any criminal activity as of yet, Sergei Kostitsyn was demoted to the Hamilton Bulldogs earlier in the week.

When approached by La Presse this week regarding the situation, the Canadiens vice-president of communications told them "We are not aware of such an association," and that the demotion was " linked only to sporting."

The Montreal Police, the Canadiens organization , the NHLPA and the NHL make every effort to work with the players to avoid being involved in criminal activity but unfortunately some will fall through the cracks.

The story temporarily puts the Alex Kovalev situation off the front pages, not to mention any trade or coaching change rumours that are circulating.