Montreal actually gets good news on injury front as Markov returns to practice

Decimated by injury for most of the year, the Montreal Canadiens finally got some good news on that front as defenseman Andrei Markov practiced for the first time since undergoing knee surgery. Markov, who hasn’t played a game this season, spent an hour practicing with teammates (while wearing a non-contact jersey) and nearly a half hour skating with Montreal assistant coaches.

“We haven’t established a timeline for his return but it’s encouraging to see him skating with the team,” coach Jacques Martin told “We’ll see if he skates tomorrow.”

Getting Markov back would be a major boost for the Habs and their anemic powerplay. When healthy, he’s one of the NHL’s premier specialists with the man advantage — in 2008-09 he finished in 39 PP points, one less than Sidney Crosby — but staying healthy has been a major issue over the last three years. He missed nearly half of the 2009-10 season with a lacerated ankle, only to come back and tear his ACL in the playoffs.

Last year, he missed all but seven games after tearing his ACL again and — after undergoing surgery in Dec. 2010 — has found it extremely difficult rehabbing the knee to full strength.

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