About last night …

Here’s all you need to know:

Philadelphia and your surprising Montreal Canadiens are second and third, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers are at the Bell Centre Tuesday night.

We know Alexandre Picard is no Andrei Markov.

We’re about to find out if Picard is better than Ryan O’Byrne.

The medical staff at RDS say Markov is gone for three months.

That’s a premature diagnosis, but it doesn’t look good. The most telling part of the replay is Markov slamming his fist into the boards in frustration.

So, what now?

Yannick Weber? MAB?


Markov’s durability has become a big question mark.

Yes, the skate cut in the opening game last season was a fluke.

But he played only 45 regular season games. Then Markov was gone again, one game into the Pittsburgh playoff series.

Markov missed the first 10 games this season, played seven and then …

Andrei Markov will be 33 in December. He’s played 623 regular season NHL games, another 29 in the playoffs.

Bobby Orr was only 30 when his knees forced him to hang up the skates. He’d played 657 in the regular season and 74 in the playoffs. In his last three seasons, the Greatest Ever played 10, 20 and six games.

Maybe the Orr comparison is too gloomy.

Again, the RDS three-month diagnosis is not official.

But fans have to think about where the team stands minus its most talented Dman.

• Goaltending: No problem. Carey Price was spectacular against Carolina, and he’ll be ready for Philly.

• Defence: Roman Hamrlik and Jaro Spacek were the Canadiens best pairing this week. They played against the Sedins and against the best lines of Boston and Carolina (though you kinda wish they were out against Eric Staal late in the third last night, eh?)

Josh Gorges, who was just getting into a groove with Markov, probably will be reunited with Hal Gill.

P.K. and Picard? Do-able, but it would limit Subban’s minutes. He played 20:39 last night and made some great plays. It’s amazing how qquickly he can recover and be at top speed.

The penalty-kill was strong in Markov’s absence, so that won’t be a problem.

The power play is another story. Three PP goals last night, but two came after the Markov injury.

The Canadiens were 7-2-1 before Markov returned to the lineup. You can say the early-season schedule was soft, but you also have to acknowledge the team developed good habits that have produced winning hockey.

The Canadiens are the only team in the NHL that has not surrendered more than three goals in regulation this season.

They have not lost a game in which they scored first. This tells you something about the Canadiens’ character, discipline and determination.

Andrei Markov is (I nearly typed “was”) a great player.

But here’s a bold assertion: Markov is no longer the best player on the Montreal Canadiens.

The best player on this team wears number 14.

And Tomas Plekanec will be in the lineup on Tuesday.

As will 17 other guys who have learned how to win.




  1. twocents says:

    I think Shilo’s idea is a good one. Real good in fact, best of all worlds.

  2. Number31 says:

    Dirty or not, it should have been a penalty which the refs turned a blind eye on hence why I was so angry about it because if a Hab had glanced a Divercane’s knee ever so slightly, whether accidental or intentional, they’d would have been TOSSED from the game. Thankfully, Habs score 2 powerplay goals on two other penalties. In your face Paul Whiny Maurice.

  3. Keith says:

    Wotever…but I guess you don’t remember when Saku Koivu nearly had his eye taken out by Justin Williams do you?

  4. Ian Cobb says:

    I sure hope your right Showey! but it did not look good.

  5. HabFab says:


    Bugs and Timo are sleeping!

  6. Ian Cobb says:

    Heavey load for me to read also. I find myself skipping over them and just go to the comments now, as before I read it all. The whole Live blog, and About Last night.

    But I am sure that I am the exception.

  7. kempie says:

    Aaaaahhhhhh geeeez I dunno. To me it doesn’t look real dirty. Careless maybe, even disrespectful perhaps but not real dirty. I thought Cooke’s hit in the playoffs was dirtier and it was, essentially, a clean hit. I thought Cooke more than helped him down and into the boards with his leg. Looked like almost a trip to me. Plus Cooke is a dirty POS. I watched Staal play his junior years and he’s not really that kind of player. I know I’ve become tangled up with guys when I’m trying to go around them and they’re trying to hold their ground. It can happen. I’ve never had a serious injury be the result. I think the fact that we were sitting on a 5 goal lead with less than 5 minutes left in the third doesn’t make this any easier to take.

  8. wotever says:

    AFAIK There is no intent to injure penalty – intent to injure is only a modifier regarding severity. This wasn’t addressed when the headshot rule was adopted.

    The rest of your post is pretty classy /s.

    It’s just a game.

  9. HabFab says:

    Probably focused on her stockings like the rest of us!

  10. HabFab says:

    Salary cap hit / number of days in season (not games)

  11. Geoff F says:

    Personally I don’t think it was dirty in and of itself.  It looks to me like Staal was going to the inside and when he realized Markov had the inside track went to the outside.  When you switch directions like that it throws you off a little and to avoid smashing his own knee you kind of lift your leg to get out of the way.  That’s where the grey area is…because it’s hard to tell if Staal gave it a little extra to impede Markov but i don’t see it as a dirty hit or intentional.  It’s the type of play that happens all the time with little fanfare.  I also think because it happened at low speed and in a restrained location that it was worse. 

    Most of the time this type of play happens when a forward is bearing down on a still defencemen and tries to go around him, but in this case they were crossing each other which i think is what made it a little worse.  Finally, we mustn’t forget Stall is a big boy and big body’s hit harder! 

  12. Viruk42 says:

    I think it’s dirty, but I’m not sure about intent.

    He’s probably just trying to get to the other side of Markov, possibly to prevent a clearance, but whether he’s trying to knock Markov down I’m not sure. I feel like he was not trying to go knee-on-knee, because it seemed too quick for him to be able to aim it, but you never know. It’s tough to say, but I do think the NHL should take a look at it and see, cause if it is intentional knee-on-knee, he should get a couple games.

  13. Mike Boone says:

    Wow! BizNasty cleaned his clock.

  14. notbigbird says:

    Haha. What a sense of humour!

  15. PrimeTime says:

    I agree Showey but I’m wondering how much weight did Markov have on that leg and was it enough to twist the knee as he went down to reinjure it?? He did come back pretty quick and it may not have been back to 100% in strength.

  16. Mike Boone says:

    You’re right about the heavy load, bro. We’re 17 games in and I could sleep for a week. The open forum with a short intro may be worth trying. I’ll nap on it. And thanks for the feedback.

  17. Keith says:

    Agreed. If the laffs were a drowning man I’d throw them an anchor.

  18. ProHabs says:

    THe Habs would be very lucky if MAB decided to sign with them. Once he is over his injury, there will be 29 other teams lining up to sign this goal scoring machine.

  19. Danno says:


    They’ve gone completely MAB.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  20. andrewberkshire says:


  21. showey47 says:

    Does anybody think the RDS medical staff is saying its 3 months in order to kick off their “sign mab” campaign?

  22. ProHabs says:

    Never in a deal with the Leafs. Never give the Leafs a 1st round pick. They are in such a bad situation, don’t do anything to help them out. Plus according the hockey experts, next years draft is extremely strong and deep, to the point that even a second round pick is considered a great asset.

  23. Mike says:

    I keep rewatching Staals hit on   Markov and for the life of me I can’t understand it. What was Staal trying to do? To me, it looks dirty….. Anyone else agree?



    Anyways, What do you think the new lines will be.


    I honestly can see:






    With the top 2 playing the same minutes

  24. Shiloh says:

    Boone: My 2 cents regarding ‘Late Hits’ and ‘About Last Night’.

    I would organize it like this: Continue the live-blog – by far the most popular feature. Have an ‘Open Forum’ about a half-hour after the game with a very short intro. Save your good stuff for the next morning’s ‘About Last Night’. With the live-blog, Late Hits and ALN you are developing the core of at least three possible full-length columns – pretty heavy load in less than 12 hours.


  25. PrimeTime says:

    I will wait until an official announcement instead of speculating but we are ok short term. If it’s serious then he goes on LTIR and we have cap space to find a reliable D that can quickly fit in to the system. The Leafs has some underachieving D and Burke getting pretty desperate! Is Kaberle affordable??? He is a UFA and his cap hit gets lower each week. Is a rental worth a 1st rounder next year, 2nd rounder the following, and a type A and B prospect? I guess, it comes down to……Do we go for it this year??

  26. showey47 says:

     It looks like staal caught him in the thigh more then the knee.

  27. ProHabs says:

    I noticed that as well and thought what an as. It is one thing to “accidently” hurt someone but when they are down and your flip their glove on them as if to say “I don’ t give an F about what happened” then that is classless.

  28. Danno says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed. And RDS, like many media outlets are basing their assessment on pure speculation. They just want to scoop a story that isn’t confirmed yet.

    The clip I posted on Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog is far more revealing. Take a look near the end and you will see what I mean.

    At the one minute mark of the clip Markov stumbles getting off the ice, but watch further on — he does put weight on his right leg walking down the hall towards the dressing room.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  29. nightmare_49 says:




    Keep rollin’: Flyers crush another unworthy opponent in Saturday night romp of Panthers

       (Are the Habs Unworthy Opponents)


  30. notbigbird says:

    But as I understand it, and I may not, the moment he returns, we have to shed salary.

  31. Chorske says:

    The one thing I didn’t like about Staal’s body language is this. He knows he’s gotten legs tangled with Markov, and that Marky has crumpled against the boards. Markov’s gloves are off. And Staal flips one of them about ten feet in the air with his stick.

    So while I don’t think Staal intentionally hurt Markov- I really don’t think he is that kind of player- he certainly acted like a first class douchebag immediately afterward.

  32. Keith says:

    I just saw the hit again and Staal clearly went for the knee. It should have been a penalty for interference at the very least, and or attempt to injure penalty. Markov didn’t have the puck, he was racing for it when Staal struck out his knee deliberately. I hope the next time we play the candy canes that someone takes out Staal or one of they’re other stars and they miss 6 months. That team has gotten away with murder against us for far too long. Time to take matters into our own hands.

  33. Chorske says:

    Kerry Fraser AND Rod Black? Together? In the same room?

    It’s a miracle the planet didn’t implode from the combined weight of their self-importance.

  34. Arrow77 says:

    My memory of Markov healthy is better than Plekanec but I have to admit it’s getting harder and harder to remember. The play of Plekanec and Price (who’s becoming a strong contender for best player as well) can help us make up for his absence but the team only allowed 3 goals the last 3 games and his return was a big reason why. I’m not sure I want Spacek back the way he was before Markov came back…

  35. PrimeTime says:

    + 1. I agree. Kinda like know your present before Xmas morning.

  36. nightmare_49 says:


       Here is one for Mr.B’s hangover:


       Janssen vs Bissonnette.

  37. SeriousFan09 says:

    Even if we’re not expecting a huge performance from Markov in the playoffs, it now means more work for the elder defencemen Gill, Spacek and Hamrlik, those extra minutes for TOI now will pile up quickly between now and the playoffs. The team will persevere, but the question of what they’ll have left in them by the time the playoffs roll around is not easily answered. Gill will likely switch it on but those two? Not sure they can maintain it, Hamrlik was just hideous in some games in the playoffs last season, granted by the end of the year he’ll have topped including playoffs, 1400 games in the NHL.

    Team will get by and make the playoffs, but I’m not counting on the Division Title if Markov is missing. As long as Habs are winning they can pace against Boston, but it’s a long hard road still to travel this season, 65 games to go.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  38. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Damn right Pleks is the teams best player…

  39. SeriousFan09 says:

    I noticed that as well, he looked in much worse shape after going down against the Penguins last year. Maybe my imagination, but I don’t think it is bad as some are saying. RDS has to put something out and decided to just go with a 3-month report even though MTL’s doctors haven’t fully gone over Markov yet.



    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  40. Danno says:

    First of all, the rumour from RDS about Markov being out three months is not confirmed. So take it with a grain of salt.

    Although it didn’t look good, I noticed watching last night that as Markov exited the ice (and was walking down the hall towards the dressing room) he DID put some weight on his right leg. This particular replay does not show this.

    Consequently, it’s possible this will turn out to be a minor setback and not a career-ending injury as some are fearing.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  41. sholi2000.com says:

    So much fun to be a Habs fan. 

    Markov?  The team is bigger than this one player.  It used to be all about Markov, but not now. 

    Wait and see for the real assessment.

    I’m a fan of Picard, he’s a plus player, and that can only help the team.

    FYI, I am one of the few Habs fans who isn’t gaga over Markov.  Nothing wrong with that.  He’s great and all , but has never impressed me in the playoffs.  I’m funny that way.

    Hope it’s not serious (Markov).

    They Call Me Shane

  42. Bryan says:

    If he’s put on the LTIR, then we get salary cap relief equal to (salary cap hit/82) * number of games missed


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  43. notbigbird says:

    Of course, he is from Sarnia and still lives there, I think, so that doesn’t guarantee great sales elsewhere. Decades ago, he visited my daughter’s school or class.

  44. Shiloh says:

    There will be a few teams selling to get under the cap. Will we have lots of room with Markov out? if he makes 5 million a year and misses half a year, do we get 2.5 million in cap room? That, of course, would be far too simple.

  45. RGM says:

    While Josh may be able to handle the minutes, he doesn’t have the same offensive dynamism as Markov. No doubt he’d capably fill in the role in his own zone, though.

    Go Habs Go!

  46. Bryan says:

    And I agree 100% about Pleks being our best player.  Thank god he’s been able to stay healthy.


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  47. Danno says:

    One man’s garbage is another man’s gold. Which explains Castor’s silver-lining view of things.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  48. Bryan says:





    Hamrlik and Spacek have been great in the last week because they weren’t asked to play 25 minutes a night.  Play Subban/Gorges 25, Hamrlik/Spacek 20, and Gill/Picard 15.

    Bring Weber in if the PP starts to stumble again.


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  49. Castor says:

    Damn you and your logical and realistic view of the situation.

  50. Danno says:

    I like your progress reports. Especially when we are trending upward.

    Hope you are feeling fine. I know last night’s win was like a lift for me, except for the Markov injury.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  51. topher5468 says:

    Mr Boone, I have to tell you that this quick hits thing you do now seems to take away from ALN. I used to really look forward to it and now , to me , its just a shell of what it used to be. I really love to read your perspective and analysis but it’s just now the ALN is a bit watered down, Oh well, anyway thanks as always for your in game blogs and all your other good work

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  52. mrhabby says:

    with markov out it puts more pressure on all the dmen. The older guys hammer/gill/spacek put more minutes in and become less effective over time. Not enough guys to many minutes. Picard will be starting.


  53. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    Why doesn’t Gorges just take over Markov’s minutes, split up spacek and hamrlik and off to the races?


    I think this team is built to stand up to adversity, this will just be a little detour on the road to where we’re going.

  54. SeriousFan09 says:

    He looked frustrated, but I think he looked worse after the ACL tear in Pittsburgh last season, for some reason I just can’t believe it as bad as some are reporting it to be and I’m not buying this 3 months stuff just yet. I know Pleks seems to haver overtaken Markov in importance to the team but this is it…

    If Pleks goes down for a stretch, replacements at center are Eller and Halpern, 21 and 34 respectively with call-up options of Desharnais (23), Maxwell (22) and Engqvist (23). A general Top-6 core of Gionta (31), Gomez (30), AK (25), Cammalleri (28) and the option of Ben Pouliot (23). These guys all will still play less TOI than any defencemen as well. With Markov down, Habs once again have to lean on 3 defenders in Gill, Spacek and Hamrlik who 35, 36 and 36 respectively and whle that will work for a time, by the playoffs their tanks could be dry and Habs could be fighting with half a D group effectively. Markov may be considered less important but in terms of impact and replacement, he’s still more a vital cog in the long run this season because of who he takes pressure off when he’s around.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  55. JF says:

    Mike, I agree with you about Plekanec.  He is our best player.  He was sublime last night.  How he can be repeatedly dismissed as a small, second-line centre is beyond me, and it’s a travesty that he’s not on the All-Star ballot (although I’m not complaining about that; I’d be glad if none of our guys went to the game).

    There’s a lot of leadership on the team.  Someone on L’Antichambre said last night that, when the Canes tied it up, Gorges called out the guys on the bench, said they all had to step up the intensity and get the job done. We saw the result immediately.  Leadership, character, and a team that has learned how to win.  But without Markov, our veteran Dmen will get very tired.

  56. twilighthours says:

    There should be no question that #14 is the best Canadien.  He is an excellent player who gets better every game.  One of the most unheralded players in the NHL, and a slap in the face that he was left off the all-star ballot.  I’d put him in the top 10 centres in the league – yeah I would.

    The guy is a stud, and we are lucky to have him.

  57. Mike Boone says:

    No silver lining. It was garbage time.

  58. mrhabby says:

    Markov out for 1,2 or 3 months just sucks.The crappy thing about this is Hammer/Spacek and others will have to play big minutes to make up for the loss not a good scenario with older dman like those 2. Our transition game could take a big hit with this loss.

    Can Weber really handle playing fulltime with the big club..makes me nervous just thinking about it. Thought i saw him getting pounded last time he was called up. Smallish and inexperienced???

    I can’t see any trades happening but you never know what will happen.


  59. nightmare_49 says:



      More Hockey World

       By Jim Matheson


       – Kerry Fraser’s memories of his refereeing days — The Final Call — is doing brisk business. He sold 365 books in 10 minutes before a book signing in Sarnia. People apparently lined up for 2-1/2 hours to get them personalized. He was co-host with Rod Black on Live From Wayne Gretzky’s on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, prior to the Maple Leafs game.


      – Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, who belongs to Hockey Ministries International with Eric Staal, David Booth and others, never gets too down or too high after great or bad games. When Denver Post sportswriter Adrian Dater asked him playfully if God cares who wins or loses, Budaj shrugged. “You know what? I don’t know. Maybe. I hope to ask him some time,” said Budaj, who is holding the fort when Avalanche starter Craig Anderson is out with a knee injury.

    Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/More+Hockey+World/3825381/story.html#ixzz15GOnpF44

    Seguin scores endorsement


    Bruins’ young forward featured in Dunkin’ Donuts commercial

    Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Seguin+scores+endorsement/3826032/story.html#ixzz15GRUfllc


  60. likehoy says:

    okay the skate cut was a fluke accident, the cooke hit was questionable on markov’s part…but this latest one, you can’t blame markov, anyone getting a knee on knee is going to be out for some time and the way that staal did it? it looks to me staal deliberately wanted to slow down markov and did it in a pretty dirty way.

    i hope the league reviews staal’s play cause his body language is clear that he was frustrated with the game and wanted to get an edge on markov with what ended up being a dirty play. staal could have easily avoided markov’s knee like any other hockey player in that situation but chose not to…it’s ridiculous.

    but staal’s going to get overlooked prob and prob get submitted to the non-repeat offender crap and the habs lose one of their most dynamic players

    there’s no denying markov kept the puck alive better than any other dman on the team including subban…and markov jumps into the rush at the best opportunities…which is in contrast to how subban leads the rush…having both elements really made our defense unpredictable and hard to face as part of an offensive unit.

    hopefully markov’s injury is not nearly as serious…he wasn’t carried off in a stretcher and wasn’t wincing in pain but was clearly frustrated.

    – I support Carey Price as the Number 1 Goalie!

  61. bigjames says:

    mike i may have missed it but did you have anything to say about chantal’s new hairdoo?

  62. notbigbird says:

    I now count four injuries with very few games in between: the end of ’08. the beginning of ’09, the end of ’09, and the beginning of ’10. That’s crazy! Sad but crazy.

    I’m with Boone. I’d say that Pleks is now our best and that Price and PK, by default at least, have moved past Markov in value and importance. This whole thing, however, is very sad for both Markov and the organization.

  63. Ian Cobb says:

    In the 30 team league, here is where we place and how we have progressed this week. Keeping in mind, some teams have games in hand and the season is young.



    Goals Against—36.  We are in  4th place.    Last week we were in 10th.

    Total Points—–23.  We are in  5th place.    Last week we were in   7th.

    Goals For——–46.  We are in 15th place.    Last week we were in  19th


    A nice little move up, in all major areas.

  64. Castor says:

    The silver lining is that the Habs scored those two PP goals after Markov got hurt yesterday??

    Notice the question mark.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.