Friday, September 16, 2011

Montreal Canadiens: The Rise and Fall of Andrei Markov

By Rene Roy

With the NHL season fast approaching, I have found myself desperate for news from the Montreal Canadiens about the coming campaign.

Well yesterday we got some, but unfortunately, its bad.

When asked about the readiness of star defenseman Andrei Markov, GM Pierre Gauthier had this to say:

"If the season started tomorrow, he would not be available to us. We hope he'll be ready for opening night against the Leafs, but no guarantees. I have guarded optimism for the team's chances this season."

Latest word is Markov has water on the knee.


Like so many other Habs fans, I have been holding onto hope for quite some time that Markov would be back. And he certainly might be. But there are so many questions surrounding him that one can't help but wonder what he will be like when he does.

Let me share with you a little story.

My sister is a huge Markov fan. When he returned last year, for those all-too-brief seven games, she was ecstatic.

Then he went into the boards and that was that. Again.

Immediately, my mouth took over, and I blurted out something to the effect that he needs to be dumped - i.e. traded.

Well flash forward to this summer, and the Habs sign him to a three year deal. Now, I did not like this deal when it happened, simply due to the fact that Markov has not played for us for the better part of two whole seasons. After all, could we not have invested the money elsewhere instead of using it during the regular season to rent players?

Wisniewski anyone? Anyone?

I have only recently begun to immerse myself back in the world of hockey, having fallen away from it for many years. And since I did, all I have been hearing from Habs fans worldwide, is how good Markov is.

But here's the thing...He's not.

How can you call a player good when he doesn't play? That's when you call a player an ex-player.

I know, I know, its not his fault, but really, - and lets be honest here - so what? Hockey is a big business, and if you cant play, then why stay?

There are so many other young players out there, that I feel it was totally unjustified of the Habs to offer a contract of three years out, when they weren't even sure he was healthy.

By the way, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Josh Gorges have a very similar surgery around the same time as Markov? It might have only been his first compared to Markov's second, but yeah, he's ready to go.

There is no denying that Andrei Markov used to be a top shelf D-man in the NHL. There is no denying he has had a bad couple of injuries. There is also no denying that he has been nothing but a paperweight to the Montreal Canadiens for more than two years.

I could be proven wrong with this.Who knows? He might be topnotch ready for the beginning of the season. But at this point, regardless of whether he is or not, I think he has to go.

There are many quality defensemen around the league who are healthier, younger and/or better than the current Markov. Christian Erhoff would have been interesting in a Habs uniform for sure. Maybe we can get someone who can actually hit the ice and earn that 17 million dollars instead.

What do you think? Am I crazy for wanting a star level D-man who can play? Or will he be back JUST to prove me wrong?

HfxHabby grew up just outside of Montreal and learned early on to love the Habs. His earliest hockey memory is seeing Steve Penney play in nets.Hfxhabby is currently training his young son to be a Habs fan, to his wife's dismay. He can still name every player on the '93 Cup-winning Canadiens.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)


Interesting perspective my friend. I have to say that you are a brave man! This piece is SURE to get flammed! Personally, I think when Markov is healthy he is a top-5 dman in the league.

The problem, as you pointed out, is that is hasn't been healthy lately.

The saving grace is that the Habs have learned to play and win without him. From where I sit, however, as good as the Habs are they will not be an elite team without Markov. He can push them over the top.

Hopefully he's not out for long!

Hey Kamal.
Thanks for the comment.

Yes im fully aware I might get blasted for this lol.

He hasn't been a help to the team at all for over 2 years. I just dont see why they keep hoping he will. I for one no longer am :)

So from your perspective, the Pens should trade Crosby because he missed half of last year and won't start the year health this year either? Trade any player who gets a long term injury? Sorry, but that logic is extremely flawed.

The cost for a top tier NHL defensemen is sky high. A player of Markov's calibre is hard to come by and extremely costly in terms of assets or dollars to acquire. Why on earth would you trade a player of that calibre just as he's finally getting healthy. I'm not even going to mention that getting anyone remotely close his quality via trade and at his price tag is highly unlikely. I'd rathe just keep the General.

you might think my logic is flawed, but with all due respect, i think your comparison is.
Heres why.
I dont think the Pens should trade Crosby simply because Crosby has suffered one injury and has missed half a season.

Markov has had two identical injuries to his knee and has played 7 games in 2 years.

I suggest it is time to cut their losses.
Why pay if he can't play?

And i will believe he is healthy once he can manage 25 games lol

thanks for the perspective and input:) always welcome.

What you're saying is equivalent to buy high, sell low. Markov has already done all the operations andvalready has his contract. His down side now is marginal while his upside is huge. Add to that he's not going to fetch much via trade and it's a case of asking yourself, why on earth when he's so close to coming back would you consider trading him. More over, who couldvtake his place? PK? Fine, but then we'd have much less depth on D.

I understand what youre saying, but I think you might have missed the crux of my article lol.
Yes his upside is huge, but, where is the upside to a player who doesnt play?
If he comes back, like i said, then i admittedly eat crow here, but until then, i dont see the benefit of having a player on the team who doesnt play :)


I gotta disagree man. We are all entitled to our iopinion which makes this great however your reasoning here is all speculative.

You mention James Wisniewski as an alternative yet fail to mention that the Wiz had 3 surgeries on the very same knee. Including the very same procedure as Markov. What makes one injury more difficult to absorb than the other?

I was a huge Wiz fan and was ecstatic when he was dealt to the Habs but he is nor has ever been the D-man that Markov is. Apart from last season the Wiz has never scored more than 30 points yet despite the knee surgeries and limited production he has signed pretty much the same contract as Markov.

It was a risk to sign markov to a 3 year contract agreed however the risk of leting him walk was greater. There were no other names out there capable of being a #1 guy on this team, and no other player who will have a big a role as Markov when it coems to not only helping the team on the ice but developing their young Russian prospects like Emelin off it.

Markov had to remain a Hab and the only way that was possible was with a 3 year contract. Let's hope the doctors had this right and he is able to perform to his standards.

sorry for the confusion. I wasnt referring to Wizzer as a possible replacement, i was using him as an example of the teams "rentals".
the name i threw out as a possible replacement was Erhoff, although is is not the Dman that Markov once was, and hopefully will be again.
But hopefully he will be top nothc, as i said, and i am proven to be totally wrong.
I hope so, but im not sure.....

Thanks for the response :)

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