When healthy, Andrei Markov has been one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. Unfortunately, injuries greatly hampered the Montreal Canadiens blueliner last season. He only played 45 games in 09-10 and then a Matt Cooke hit caused his current knee problems.
The Montreal Gazette caught up with Markov, who still isn’t ready to practice normally with his teammates.
Markov won’t be with his teammates this morning when training camp begins in Brossard with practice and scrimmage. Instead, he’ll be back in the gym, his tedious Brossard home, then skating gently, with supervision, on his own.
“I’d like to come back tomorrow, but it’s not possible yet,” Markov said yesterday. “I’m doing my best and I’m happy with my rehab. I can do different things on the ice. My knee feels a little weak, but it’s getting stronger every day.”
He’s circled no date on the calendar for his return to action, or even to practice with the team.
“Maybe another month,” he said. “Maybe more, maybe less.”
It sounds like Markov might not be able to begin the regular season with the Habs, which is rough news for a team that could use his veteran presence now that Carey Price is going to face a lot of pressure after Jaroslav Halak’s sensational playoff run.
Let’s hope that the dangling carrot of unrestricted free agency doesn’t tempt Markov to rush back too soon, though. The 31-year-old defenseman is in position to sign the last contract of his “prime years” once his current deal expires after this season, but knee injuries are very serious so he – and the Canadiens – need to tread lightly. We’ll let you know if he makes any progress or gives a more tangible time frame for his return.
Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”
“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”
Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.
In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.
So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?
Your call, Marc Bergevin.
Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL
Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.
The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),
But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.
In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.
Two injury updates in one post.
First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.
According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.
“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.
Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.
As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:
1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.
“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”
Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.
The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.