Markov healthy and ready for on-ice action
Published Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:51PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:28PM EDT
With only two pre-season games left for the Montreal Canadiens, there have been a number of pleasant surprises, but one that has completely gone under the radar.
Andrei Markov is healthy and in great shape, a welcome bit of news for a defensive corps that needs him.
Alexei Emelin season was shortened in April after tearing a ligament in his left knee in a game against the Boston Bruins.
His partner Markov knows how what that feels like, and knows that even though he feels great now, that fear it could happen again is always there.
“We are all like good soldiers, doesn't matter who is the partner. You step on ice to your job. Everyone is on same page, same system, and you do your best for the team,” he said Tuesday.
Without Emelin, Markov's partners have rotated, but he's philosophical about what it means to be an NHL player in today's league.
“I feel happy to be healthy, but it is hockey and you never know what is going to happen at the next moment. So you have to be ready right now, take it game by game and take every day and be happy to step on the ice,” he said.
The question marks about his health seem to be fading. Markov's had a good jump this year and his coach loves what he's done to prepare physically for the season.
“He's paying a lot of attention to his conditioning. He wants to get better. He watns to work at it. When you get older, conditioning is crucial. Those guys have to work harder for a level of speed and one thing we notice with Andrei is he is putting in the effort,” said head coach Michel Therrien.
Teammate Josh Gorges doesn’t underestimate his ability to control the game.
“He's arguably one of the top-tier (defencemen) in the game today. His ability to make plays and at the same time calm things down to slow the game down and keep it calm is unbelievable and if he is healthy then he's a big asset for our team,” said Gorges.
Markov also knows how important the newcomers are.
“We have a good group of young guys who are going to be good hockey players and we need them now too,” said Markov
Therrien said he would like to see Markov continue to partner with Rafael Diaz as those two continue to develop some chemistry with each other.