Friday, October 14, 2011

Markov Back on Skates Next Week!

UPDATE: - It appears it'll have to be later on next week, as confirmed reports say Markov will stay in Florida till at least Monday when he has another appointment with his doctor.

Just as all signs were pointing to a bleak outlook for Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov, Habs fans got the best news update they could ask for on a Friday afternoon. The team's top rearguard will begin skating with his mates next week, as announced by Tony Marinaro and Renaud Lavoie on Twitter.

Markov spent most of the week meeting with his doctor, Dr. James Andrew, in Florida. This fueled rampant blog and Twitter speculation that perhaps his injury was more long-term than initially thought, or that there may even be a big rift between him and the club. Well Canadiens fans can rest a little easier going into the weekend with the knowledge that the General of the team's blueline may be back in action sooner than they had thought.

While there is still no formal timetable for his return to game action, one would imagine he will need a couple of weeks of skating and practicing. That would push his first game to early November in all likelihood. While this is great news, the next concern will be his performance when he does actually play, as the expectations set by his contract are for him to be the dominant force he was before all these injuries set in.

We were critical of the Markov signing when it became apparent that he wouldn't be ready for training camp and then the start of the season, but if he is back in the coming weeks and seems to be at 100%, we will eat our words. Markov is a player who can take the team's game to a whole other level if he's on. Hal Gill and P.K. Subban have looked far from the top pairing they were asked to be, so if they can slide into a 2nd duo role and have, say, Markov and Josh Gorges eat up significant ice time, the Habs' back end will look far better.

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