Last night the Habs opened the year with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
The end result was a positive, but one event that occured during the course of the game is one that really makes me wish for a do-over Thursday night.
Perennial All-Star defenseman Andrei Markov went down and was helped off the ice after accidentally getting into a collision with goaltender Carey Price, where the goalies skate approaches Markov's ankle/skate region and apparently cut deep into the flesh.
I'm no doctor, but having played hockey a while, you kinda need that whole ankle/foot region to be 100%. I'm surprised they haven't called torn ankles the Howie Morenz yet.
My pal Gab Desjardins over at Behindthenet did an analysis during the summer over the point loss in the standings of losing a top pairing defenseman. The result was 8.66 points over 82 games.
However thats for all thirty-two teams and their number one and number two defensman respectively. Andrei Markov is more than a number two defenseman, and much better than an average number one.
Markov was 6th last year in PC at 89 (over 82 games that prorates to 94).
In 07-08 he was 9th with 83
In 06-07 he was 25th with a 73 (over 82 games that prorates to 77).
So over the last 3 years, according to Player Contribution, Markov was worth 8.55 points per year on average. Again that does not correlate to Gab Desjardin's findings mainly because of the flaws in PC.
What it does illustrate in the seperation Markov has from other defenseman in the league, he is a bonafide top 10 in the NHL.
Losing him is monstrous, using logic and the numbers illustrated above, I would make a estimate that Andrei Markov is equivalent over the course of a league year to about 10-12 points off the standings to the Montreal Canadiens.
Now hes not out the whole year, the prognosiss is 3-4 months. However due to the Olympic break that means a huge surplus of games in that time span. Using the median of that time frame, 3.5 months, Andrei Markov will be out approximately until Mid-January.
In that span, the Habs play 47 games until their January 16th match vs Ottawa. 47 games is 57% of the season, use the median of my estimate which is 11 points lost on the standings without Markov for a full year, means the Habs will lose 6.3 points due to this injury.
For a team that was probably going to hover around the 5th-8th place range comes years end, this all but spells the end to the Habs playoff hopes. While its still possible, the chances are very fringe.