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.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?