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Gotta Like Klim

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Photo credit:Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Robin Brownlee
11 months ago
Every once in a while, a new player will become part of an old dressing room mix and it will be like a breath of fresh air in the give-and-take relationship that exists between NHL players and the people who make their living reporting about them.
Klim Kostin, who joined the Edmonton Oilers back on Oct. 9 in a trade that sent Dmitri Samorukov to the St. Louis Blues, appears to be one of those players. A week ago, he was having some fun with reporters by sticking the shaft of his stick into a scrum like a boom microphone. Today, he was at it with reporters again and the big Russian upped his game.
I mentioned Kostin in this regard last week and how the Oilers have had several players over the years who’ve made a habit of having fun with reporters and sometimes even making fun of them from time to time – guys like Rem Murray, Marty Reasoner, Matt Greene, and Bill Guerin are four who come to mind.
Asked the obligatory question about facing his old team in the Blues – it really is a cliché and an eye-roller but when you’re working the beat, you almost have to ask it – Kostin played it straight. But when veteran Post Media hockey scribe Jim Matheson waded in with a follow-up question, Kostin poked some fun at him.

WHAT HE SAID

“No, just like a regular game for me,” Kostin told Reid Wilkins of 630 CHED when asked if tonight’s game meant anything extra or if he wanted to prove the Blues wrong for trading him. “It’s always nice to win (against) old teammates, I’ll just have some fun. I just want to prove to myself that they were wrong, you know? I don’t want to prove to anyone, just to myself.
After Gene Principe of Sportsnet asked Kostin if he had enjoyed his time in St. Louis and Ryan Rishaug of TSN asked about having some early success with the Oilers, Matheson asked Kostin if he still keeps track of the Blues. A fair enough inquiry, but Kostin made note Matheson has been a target for some fans on Twitter – most notably since a tense exchange with Leon Draisaitl during a media availability last January.
“I think the fans don’t like your questions, eh, on Twitter,” said Kostin. “I saw it. You need to change something . . . one more time, what was your question?” Sticking with it, Matty would get his answer, “Do you still pay attention to how St. Louis does in the games even though you play for Edmonton?”
“Yes, sometimes I watch their games,” Kostin said. “I have a lot of friends out there, like the Russian guys. Sometimes when I can I watch their games.”
Then, another poke for the media mob in general. “I just saw the fans don’t like your questions, guys, so you need to think about it,” Kostin smiled. “So, what do you think of our questions?” asked somebody else.
“I don’t care,” he said. “If I have an answer, I’ll answer, you know? If I understand the question, it’s already good for me.” For context, you can find the entire interview with Kostin here. It runs just over five minutes.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Having been on the receiving end of chirps from players back in the day – some meant in good fun, others not so much — I always considered it part of the deal, of the give and take. It’s not difficult to tell when a player is actually pissed off with you and trying to show you up. This was not that.
Whether it’s meant in fun, as this was, or intended to have some bite, fans love it when a reporter takes crap from a player. It’s all good. They should know that Matheson and Kostin already had a laugh over what was said. It’s part of the gig.

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