BROSSARD, Que. --
Impending unrestricted free agent Andrei Kostitsyn
says he has not asked the Montreal Canadiens
to trade him in spite of greatly diminished ice time that bottomed out at a season-low 4:20 in Monday night's loss to the Carolina Hurricanes
But he says he might just do that if his situation does not change soon.
"Not yet," Kostitsyn said Wednesday when asked if he's requested a trade. "But we'll see in the next couple of games."
Kostitsyn just turned 27 on Feb. 3 and is playing out a contract that pays him $3.25 million. He scored 26 goals in his first full NHL season in 2007-08 but has never been able to match that total, though he topped the 20-goal mark in two of his previous three seasons.
He also brings a physical dimension to the game, topping 100 hits in each of the past four seasons and leading the Canadiens with 140 last season.
This season Kostitsyn has 12 goals and 12 assists in 47 games but he has hit a major dry spell with just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last eight games. Over his last four games, Kostitsyn's ice time has gone from 14:30 to 12:08 to 11:15 and finally to 4:20 on Monday.
"It's tough when you sit on the bench, you just (watch) the game. … You're freezing on the bench," Kostitsyn said. "I can't do anything in four minutes. If he gives me more ice time, I can show how I can play."
"He" is Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth
, who explained the reason Kostitsyn was benched Monday night was because he committed turnovers on three consecutive shifts.
"The coach is probably thinking I'm the one guy on the team that (commits) turnovers or loses the puck," Kostitsyn said. "That's why maybe he put me on the bench."
Cunneyworth said he wants Kostitsyn and his center Scott Gomez
to "play the right way" if they want to earn more ice time.
"I understand what he wants," Kostitsyn said. "He wants us to chip the puck and put the puck behind the defensemen and play in their zone. I tried to do that last game, but I still stayed on the bench. Nothing different."
Cunneyworth would not confirm whether Kostitsyn or Gomez would suit up for Wednesday night's game against the Boston Bruins