Even though the season has yet to begin, the Montreal Canadiens are getting dose of good news. While they’re slated to start the year without the services of defensemen Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Markov, things aren’t far off from returning to normal. The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey tells us that both players rejoined the team at practice today.
Hamrlik, who suffered a strained knee in a late-summer workout with Jaroslav Spacek, said he felt good and, while he didn’t want to make any predictions, it appears he will play in Toronto.
“I want to take it one day at a time, but it’s feeling better every day,” Hamrlik said.
“It was great,” Markov said when asked about rejoining his teammates. “It was a good feeling and I’m looking forward. My knee feels good.”
Markov underwent surgery in May to repair knee-ligament damage and the original prognosis was for a return in late November. He’s well ahead of that schedule, but refused to speculate when he would be able to play.
“That’s my big secret,” Markov said when asked when he would return. “I don’t have a special date. I want to take it step by step. I feel better and better every day. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
Having Hamrlik ready to go right away is huge for the team and while getting Markov back next month still sounds bleak, the lift he’ll provide for the team overall will be huge. Getting them on the ice to practice for the first time at all during camp is a good way to get the team fired up to start the year.
Then again, if they actually needed that lift to kick things off considering they’ll be starting their season against their hated rivals in Toronto, perhaps the Habs will be in some trouble. Defensively, the Canadiens are a deep team but offsetting Markov’s absence is where the presence of P.K. Subban comes in handy from an offensive perspective.