Defenseman Mike Kostka is back in familiar territory – or at least with a familiar coach – as the Tampa Bay Lightning picked him up off waivers on Sunday afternoon.
The Chicago Blackhawks had placed Kostka on waivers on Saturday. He played in nine games for the Blackhawks, recording two goals and an assist.
“I think whether we’re looking at the business decisions or hockey decisions, sometimes they go hand in hand,” coach Joel Quenneville said following Sunday’s practice. “It definitely gives Mike a chance to play. We liked what he brought. I think getting picked up by his former coach (Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper), I’m sure they’re excited about him returning to that organization and for his coach as well. We just wish him the best.”
The Blackhawks have a bit of wiggle room heading into the March 5 trade deadline ($837,489 of deadline space).
Kostka spent time in the Lightning organization in 2011-12, when he was traded there from the Florida Panthers. He played most of that season with the Norfolk Admirals, who were then coached by Cooper. The Admirals won the Calder Cup that season; Cooper talked about Kostka when the Blackhawks were in Tampa earlier this season.
“I want to say something bad about him but I just can’t. I’m a better person for having coached him,” Cooper said this past fall. “He’s a great talent. I put him in the category for guys who were pushed aside, team to team, cut, traded, set out to sea and found a way to get back and now plays in the NHL. For him to go to arguably one of the best D corps in the league, for (the Blackhawks) to usually carry seven and open up a spot to carry an eighth, that’s a tribute to Mike.”