It's no secret that the Montreal Canadiens could surely use star defenseman Andrei Markov on the blue line sooner than later.
The 32-year-old Markov, who has spent his entire 623-game career with Montreal, has amassed 81 goals, 285 assists, and 366 points over 10 years. He has also made back-to-back All-Star Game appearances in 2008 and 2009.
The unfortunate thing is his how injury-plagued he has consistently been. A right knee injury is the latest culprit, the same knee that kept him out of action for all but seven games last season.
It appears his return is just around the corner, however. The Russian rearguard is making the trip with the Habs on their road trip to California, and could make his return as soon as Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. Markov has been cleared for contact, and is practicing on the club's top power play unit, a place he is used to. Via the Canadiens' official website, head coach Jacques Martin had this to say about his all-star defender:
We’re definitely getting closer. He’s been practicing with the team for the last couple of weeks and while I don’t have an exact date yet, I think I mentioned last week that I felt that this week would be a good test for him. It’s a chance for him to have some good intense practices, do a lot of grunt work, a lot of competing, some defensive zone coverage, some one-on-ones. So we’ll just have to wait and see, but we’re going in the right direction.
It seems Markov will be back soon to help the Habs, who are currently sitting in the Eastern Conference's 12th place, get into a playoff spot. Their blue line could use a much-needed boost right now.