The Montreal Canadiens had an incredible run to the Eastern Conference finals last season, but they had to make half of it without their go-to powerplay quarterback and best defenseman Andrei Markov. The Russian blueliner sustained an injury from a rugged, yet clean check from Pittsburgh Penguins agitator Matt Cooke.
Here is video of that hit from the second round of the 2010 playoffs.
The good news is that it seems like Markov is rebounding from that tough injury. Habs Inside Out passes along a French-language RDS Report that he’s back on skates after dealing with those issues during the summer.
Now, as you may know, “getting back on skates” and “being ready to withstand body checks from 220 lbs. power forwards” are two very different things. Still, Markov has more than a month to get back to game speed, so if he can participate in the Canadiens’ training camp – or at least a portion of it – that would be a big boost to a team that will be under a lot of pressure to succeed without Jaroslav Halak.
Markov didn’t play much in the regular season either (only 45 games), so hopefully the team will proceed with caution regarding its offensive catalyst. He produced an impressive 34 points in those 45 games, though, so when healthy he can really make things happen.