MONTREAL – It’s official. Andrei Markov
will not be working on his tan on a beach somewhere during NHL All-Star Weekend later this month. He will instead be filling a starting spot on the Eastern Conference blue line.
After leading the race among defensemen in the East from the get-go, Markov ended up the top dog with 316,136 votes, comfortably ahead of Zdeno Chara who earned 271,272. Only Sidney Crosby earned more votes than Markov in the East.
“I’m happy, really happy,” said Markov, grinning from ear-to-ear. “I just want to thank all the fans who voted for me and my teammates for helping make this happen for me.”
The all-star nod is the first of Markov’s seven-year NHL career. The 29-year-old leads all Habs rearguards across the board with 10 goals, 19 assists and 29 points. He is also one goal shy of the Capitals’ Mike Green, the league leader among defenseman with 11 goals.
“Andrei has been unbelievable for us this year,” said head coach Guy Carbonneau. “I don’t know whether it was because he signed his long term contract this summer, but he arrived at training camp with a different attitude, ready to take on more responsibility. He’s more talkative and seems a lot more comfortable with the guys. I’m happy for him. He certainly deserves the recognition.”
Markov becomes the 10th Canadiens defenseman to earn an All-Star invite since the NHL moved to a conference-by-conference format in 1969, and only the second Habs rearguard to ever be named a starter, joining Sheldon Souray who turned the trick in 2007. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com