Andrei Markov

Markov, pending UFA, wants to stay in Montreal ‘for the rest of my career’

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Andrei Markov wants to be a Canadien for the remainder of his playing days, and he’s not afraid to said it.

“Maybe I’m going to sign another contract tomorrow. Maybe in another month. We’ll see,” Markov said, per the Montreal Gazette. “I’d like to stay here for the rest of my career.”

Markov, 35, has spent his entire 13-year career in Montreal, appearing in over 700 regular season and 50 playoff games. He’s played in a pair of All-Star Games and emerged as one of the league’s better offensive defensemen, posting a career-high 64 points during the 2008-09 campaign.

The last few seasons, though, have been a struggle.

A slew of knee injuries saw him miss over 180 games in a three-year span. There were major concerns that the injuries might be of the career-ending variety, given Markov was well on the wrong side of 30.

But to his credit, he has returned and played well for the Habs, scoring 30 points during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and 24 points through 46 games this year. Along with P.K. Subban, Markov is one of the anchors of Montreal’s 10th-ranked power play (Subban leads the Habs with 12 power play assists, Markov is second with 11.)

He was also named to Russia’s Olympic squad last week, the third time he’s been selected to represent his country at the Winter Games.

Financially speaking, Markov will be an interesting case study. He’s in the final of a three-year, $17.25 million deal — carrying an average annual cap hit of $5.75 million — and could net a fairly large sum on the open market, given 1) the cap’s going up, and 2) veteran offensive defensemen really cashed in last summer (Mark Streit signed for $21 million in Philly, Sergei Gonchar got $10 million from Dallas).

Markov is hoping he’ll get his money in Montreal, but acknowledged nothing’s in the works just yet.

“Marc [Bergevin, Montreal’s GM] is interested to talk to me but there’s nothing specific now,” he said. “There is nothing I can say right now.”

Canadiens will list Briere, Emelin as healthy scratches tonight

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Daniel Briere #48 of the Montreal Canadiens warms up to play the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on November 27, 2013 in Buffalo, New York.
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When the Montreal Canadiens take on the Dallas Stars tonight, they’ll be doing so without the help of Daniel Briere or Alexei Emelin. Both players are healthy, but coach Michel Therrien isn’t interested in using either of them, according to the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.

This isn’t the first time Briere has been sent to the press box and on top that, his playing time has been limited this season. The 36-year-old forward is averaging just 12:38 minutes per game after agreeing to a two-year, $8 million contract that runs through 2014-15.

Speaking about contracts that Montreal might regret, the decision to scratch Emelin comes just a couple months after they signed him to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. That deal doesn’t even take effect until next season and already there are causes for concern.

He started the season on the sidelines due to a knee injury and his playing time has dipped from 19:40 minutes per contest in the shortened campaign to just 17:35 since his return. It’s also a discouraging sign for Team Russia when it comes to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their defensive core was already a significant question mark and Emelin’s struggles serves to further complicate things for them.

Canadiens move atop the Atlantic Division with win over rival Bruins

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens
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The Montreal Canadiens continue to roll, right on up to the top of the Atlantic Division.

The Canadiens took over first place in the division thanks to a 2-1 win over their long-time rivals, the Boston Bruins. In fact, the Habs jumped past the Bruins in the division standings.

The win improved Montreal’s record to 18-9-3, however the Bruins do have two games in hand on the Habs.

Trailing after the first period, the Canadiens got a pair of second-period goals from Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, before holding on for the win after that.

Pacioretty now has four goals in his last five games.

But the story of this game wasn’t the score. In the first period, Bruins’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being hit into the corner boards by Pacioretty.

The incident occurred less than five minutes into the game. Pacioretty was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.

“As soon as I saw the stretcher come out I wanted to puke. I felt awful,” said Pacioretty of the Boychuk incident, according to TSN’s John Lu.

According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, a source indicated that the injury is to the lower back, but isn’t expected to be serious.

Devils lose to Canadiens, Henrique to injury

Los Angeles Kings v New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils lost Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period, but lost Adam Henrique to injury before that.

The Devils fell to the Canadiens by a final score of 3-2, after Montreal center Alex Galchenyuk scored just before the midway point of the third period to give his the lead.

Not only did the Devils lose this game in regulation, but Henrique suffered a lower-body injury and did not return for the third period, according to NHL.com.

The 23-year-old Henrique has six goals and 11 points in 28 games.

Goalie nods: Emery goes for Philly, Brodeur starts in Montreal

rayemeryglare
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All the news and notes from around the crease…

Flyers turn to Sugar Ray

Ray Emery will be in goal tonight when Philly takes on the Wild in Minnesota.

Emery is 3-2-0 with a 1.42 GAA and. 947 save percentage in his last five starts, but is coming off a loss to Tampa Bay last Wednesday (in which he played well, stopping 31 of 34 shots). It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against a Wild team that has struggled offensively as of late, scoring just four goals over its last four games.

Speaking of the Wild, Josh Harding will be in goal. He last played in a 3-2 shootout loss to Colorado on Saturday, stopping 23 of 25 shots.

Brodeur goes for Devils

Tonight promises to be an emotional one for Martin Brodeur, as he’ll start at the Bell Center in Montreal for the first time since his father’s passing in late September.

Denis Brodeur was a longtime team photographer for the Canadiens, and Martin’s starts against the Habs have always carried a special narrative because of that. As such, Monday’s game promises to be especially poignant.

Brodeur hasn’t played in a while — Cory Schneider went back-to-back in wins over Carolina and Buffalo — so it’ll be curious to see how Brodeur reacts to an extended time off. The veteran netminder will be up against Carey Price in the Habs’ goal.

Elsewhere…

Covered it fairly extensively on PHT already, but Cam Talbot will make his second straight start for the Rangers tonight at MSG vs. Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec goes for the Jets.

Ben Scrivens is confirmed for L.A. tonight vs. St. Louis, but the Blues have yet to announce who the starter will be.