Montreal's O'Byrne, Kostopoulos arrested in alleged purse stealing incident

Updated: February 12, 2008, 9:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ryan O'Byrne was in the lineup, while right wing Tom Kostopoulos didn't play a day after the pair were arrested outside a Tampa nightclub.

Both players had practiced on Monday.

Ryan O'Byrne

O'Byrne

Thomas Kostopoulos

Kostopoulos

Police said O'Byrne, a 23-year-old rookie, was accused of stealing a woman's purse. Right wing Kostopoulos, 29, was charged with resisting an officer.

O'Byrne was charged with felony grand theft and released after posting $2,000 bail. Kostopoulos faces a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer without violence and was freed on $500 bail.

"You wish these things didn't happen, but once things happen, trying to go backwards isn't a possibility, so we move ahead," Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey said after practice at the St. Pete Times Forum, where Montreal faces the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

On Monday, Gainey didn't say what action would be taken by the team.

"The situation is under the umbrella of the legal system here, and the players will have to move forward whatever the ramifications for their actions or what the situation calls for," he said.

Gainey learned of the incident, which occurred following a team gathering on Sunday night, after he arrived in Florida on Monday.

A team meeting was held before practice. The general manager said his message was the arrests "needed to be taken seriously."

"I've heard parts of the story, the players' story," Gainey said. "I have not gotten the whole picture, so I'm not really able to comment on what may or may not happened."

O'Byrne and Kostopoulos spoke after practice, but did not provide details about what happened.

"Hopefully it gets resolved quickly," O'Byrne said. "Unfortunately, it's a legal issue, and at this time we really can't tell you much more than that. ... Obviously I'm apologetic for what happened and being a distraction. Putting the team through this obviously is not what I wanted to do."

Coach Guy Carbonneau said the players apologized and "felt bad" about the situation.

"We had good talks. ... Sometimes athletes find ways to turn a bad situation into something good," Carbonneau said. "That's what we'll try and do."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.