Report: Andrei Markov skates on his own for first time since Matt Cooke hit

markovinpain.jpgThe 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.

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    Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

    Frank Vatrano David Krejci

    The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

    In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

    Here’s his first goal of the night:

    While this is his overtime game-winner:

    It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

    The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

    October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

    November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

    Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

    More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

    Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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    Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

    Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

    … While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

    (You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

    Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

    You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

    Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy


    Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

    Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

    You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

    It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

    Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

    Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

    Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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    Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

    Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

    Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

    If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

    Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

    Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.