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.
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.