MONTREAL – If Russia and Canada are the two superpowers of the hockey universe, Montreal can consider itself lucky to boast a player that embodies the spirit of both nations.
Beginning in 2010-11, the Habs’ marquee defenseman will be able to flash a freshly printed Canadian passport as he heads through customs with the team, having received his citizenship over the summer.
Markov’s career with the Canadiens stretches all the way back to Oct. 6, 2000. After sporting the CH for every one of his 616 NHL games, it’s no surprise that Markov boasts the longest tenure on the current Montreal roster.
Having missed a total of 37 games last year – including 35 as the result of a lacerated tendon in his left ankle, sustained in the season’s first game – you can bet Markov will be doing his best to stay healthy in his ninth NHL campaign. Despite being sidelined for a lengthy stretch last season, the All-Star blue-liner was still no stranger to the scoresheet.
Over the 45 games he played in 2009-10, the defensive pillar still managed to chip in 28 assists and 34 points overall, earning him an impressive 0.76 points-per-game average. The Russian rearguard finished the season fifth among NHL defensemen in points, topped only by the likes of Mike Green, Duncan Keith, Sergei Gonchar and Dan Boyle.
Point tally aside, Markov also proved yet again that he represents one of the Habs’ biggest assets in his own zone, leading the team with a plus-11 differential last year.
After a strong start to the postseason this spring, Markov was sidelined early in the second round with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
While it’s currently uncertain as to whether Markov will be ready for the first game of the season having undergone knee surgery this past May, you can guarantee he’ll be looking to make his presence felt when he’s back in action. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.SEE ALSOCanadiens enter a player affiliation agreement with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers 2010-11 season preview - P.K. Subban 2010-11 season preview - Tom Pyatt 2010-11 season preview - Scott Gomez 2010-11 season preview - Brian Gionta