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Habs Notebook - Dec. 17, 2009

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL --In today’s Habs notebook, Paul Mara writes his letter to Santa, Andrei Markov gets to the point, Jacques Martin is on the defensive and…the Prodigal Son returns with his new teammates.

All I want for Christmas is…On the shelf since taking a hard hit in a game against the Flyers on December 7, Paul Mara hit the Bell Centre ice on Thursday morning. With the holidays fast approaching, the big blue-liner knows exactly what he’s hoping to find under the tree on December 25.

“I feel better every day and I’m making progress. I’m seeing improvements every day. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be back, but it’s coming along. For now, the thing that’s bothering me the most is not being able to play,” confessed Mara. “Seeing your teammates out there and not being able to help out isn’t easy. This year has been tough for our defensemen and I’m hoping that by the New Year, everyone is healthy, rested and ready to go.”

Markov kicks back: After an intense morning skate, a sweaty, exhausted Andrei Markov came shuffling into the room with a grin. Heading towards his stall, the All-Star rearguard hammed it up for the gaggle of media waiting for him, collapsing onto the bench in a heap of mock exasperation. 

“I’m going to see the doctor tonight,” explained the man of few words on the anticipated timeline for his return. 

Martin’s blue line: almost back, baaaby!!! After seeing the injury bug ravage his blue line this season, Jacques Martin is finally seeing the light at the end of the defensive tunnel with the pending return of both Paul Mara and Andrei Markov, even though Roman Hamrlik’s status remains unclear.

“The signs are encouraging. Markov is skating and improving every day. Mara is also coming along nicely. It’s always tougher to lose a defenseman than a forward because that’s where all of our plays start. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve done all season and make do with what we have. This does give others a chance to step up, though.”

It’s actually pretty easy bein’ green:
With all due respect to Kermit the Frog, Guillaume Latendresse looks right at home in his new green duds with Minnesota as he prepares to make his anticipated return to his former home as the enemy tonight.

“So far the transition has been really smooth. The style the Wild play suits my game and getting to play anywhere from 14 to 18 minutes has also helped. So does getting power-play time with a great player like Martin Havlat,” said Latendresse. “It’s going to be a little weird for sure, but I also expect it to be special. Especially facing Max [Lapierre] for the first time.

“It was also pretty weird sleeping in a hotel when I live 15 minutes from the Bell Centre,” joked the former Hab. “As for the fans, we’ll see how the crowd reacts, but I had some great times here that I won’t ever forget.”

See also:
Yesterday's boxscore
Game preview: Canadiens-Wild
Habs call up Yannick Weber
Bulldogs report – Dec. 16, 2009 
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