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Canadiens' Markov out indefinitely

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens announced Monday that star defenseman Andrei Markov will be out for a "prolonged" and "indefinite" period with a right knee injury.

Markov hurt the knee Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes when he got tied up with Eric Staal going after a loose puck behind the Montreal net with 5:10 to play and the score 5-2 Canadiens.

He crumpled to the ice in the corner, threw his glove in the air and punched the boards in frustration as he writhed in pain. It was a near mirror image of his reaction in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he tore the ACL in his right knee in Game 1 of the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Markov was helped off the ice, putting no weight on the knee as he left.

The Canadiens would not specify whether or not Markov will require surgery. This is the fourth knee injury Markov has suffered in just over three years.
He sprained his left knee in the semi-final of the 2007 IIHF World Championship playing for the Russian national team.

In 2009, Markov injured his left knee again when he was thrown into the boards by Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski. Markov missed the final four games of the regular season and the whole playoffs as Montreal was swept in the first round by the Boston Bruins.

In last season's playoffs, Markov tore his right ACL after he was hit by the Penguins Matt Cooke. That required surgery and Markov only returned Oct. 30, playing seven games before hurting the right knee again Saturday night.

In addition to the knee injuries, Markov missed 35 games at the beginning of last season with a lacerated tendon in his foot when it was accidently sliced by the skate of Canadiens goalie Carey Price in the season opener in Toronto.

Markov, 31, is in the final year of a four-year, $23 million contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2011.

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