News broke late last night that the Alexei Kovalev fiasco would be replaced by a news story that was much bigger. The Canadien blogs were buzzing last night around midnight speculating as to what the news was and it was leaked somehow that there was a criminal investigation involving three Canadien players. Immediately people were coming up with all kinds of scenarios involving Price, Higgins, Gorges and Komisarek (the players known most on the team as partiers).
The below has been translated by Kevin van Steendelaar, the original article in French can be found here:
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.
Definitely a black eye for the NHL and Montreal organization if true, but don't appear to be nearly anywhere as bad as the rape/drug trafficing rumors that were being circulated last night before the official press release was made.