The Montreal Canadiens will have to wait a while longer to get their top defenseman back in the lineup.
Andrei Markov, who hasn't played since tearing a knee ligament against Pittsburgh during the second round of the playoffs last May, has been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks. But coach Jacques Martin said Tuesday that Markov won't play Thursday when the Canadiens host New Jersey or in Saturday's road game at Ottawa.
"I obviously want to be able to help the team when I come back, and so I won't until I'm 100 percent ready," Markov told the Canadiens' website after Tuesday's practice. "It's not fun to stay out. I have a tough time if I ever have to miss a few games, but I've been out for a few months now, and I just want to play some games. I have to challenge myself everyday to make this work and bring myself back before the end of October, but right now I know I'm not going to be ready for Thursday's game against the Devils."
The Canadiens have missed Markov's quarterbacking skills on the power play -- they are just 1-for-17 through five games. Jaroslav Spacek has played the right point in Markov's absence, but Martin said a change would be made before Thursday's game