Postcard I from Habs training camp

DS11 0916 Habs 0730

Andrei Markov’s knee is not 100 per cent, but his sense of humour is ready for the hockey season.

“Are you nervous about your knee?” Markov was asked at the end of his 10-minute media scrum Friday morning.

“I’m more nervous about you guys,” the defenceman replied, with the speed of one of his power-play point drives.

Does he have water on his injured knee?

“I have water in my basement.”

Markov said he would love to be scrimmaging with his teammates when drills begin Saturday morning, but admitted that’s not going to happen.

“I try stay positive and carry through with the (rehabilitation) plan,” Markov added. He is taking things “day by day” (first time that phrase has been used this season … but not the last) and sees improvement in his knee almost every day.

Markov says there’s “a chance” he will play in the Canadiens’ season opener in Toronto – at an ACC rink that has not been kind to his health.

Markov visited Dr. James Andrews last month to deal with swelling in his right knee. The acclaimed American surgeon was satisfied with the progress of recovery and told Markov a bit of swelling is to be expected after a second knee surgery.

Markov debunked rumours of a rift with team management and resentment that the Canadiens had neglected to monitor his skating drills.

“There are days when I’m disappointed at the progress of my rehab,” Markov said. “But I have nothing against the team or the medical staff.”

“I try to stay positive,” he reiterated. “I’m not going to play tomorrow, but the day is coming.”

•  •  •

Hal Gill, a reliable source of good one-liners, was also in mid-season form.

On his best fitness test: “Reach.”

His least-favourite: “The VO2. You get on a bicycle and pedal until you puke.”

On competition between Josh Gorges and P.K. Subban to be his D partner: “I feel like the good-looking girl at the prom.”

On enduring Bruins’ fans during his offseason in Massachusetts: “It’s nice to be back in Montreal. I’ve had enough hearing about the best team evah.”

AUDIO: Mathieu Darche | Hal Gill | Brian Gionta | Tomas Plekanec | Raphael Diaz

Video to come this afternoon from David Stubbs

Candid photo of Alexei Yemelin, shot by Dave Sidaway of The Gazette, who also took the Markov pic.

Looks like the new guy’s been on the Pat Hickey Power Diet.

Pass the blinis, Ma!

The players began the morning down at the gym level, going through fitness drills and being assessed by people carrying clipboards.

In the media division, Patrick V. Hickey topped the vertical jump, rising three inches of his seat and yelling “Waiter!”

•  •  •

Interesting to note – and 24Cups has – that each camp team includes an intact line that is likely to start the season.


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  2. 44har48 says:

    Dam…I’ve been bragging this guy up now for 3-4 years…I’ve got my bowl of crow on ice just in case…

  3. PrimeTime says:

    Wow some people are pretty judgemental. Must think pretty highy of yourselves!

  4. VancouverHab says:

    Holy crap : AK is a monster and Gionta looks like a body-builder.

    Now that said, I bet there are Hall of Famers who played their whole careers with a higher body-fat percentage than Yemelin shows in
    that picture. He could still be highly fit — anyone know his test scores?

  5. Mats26 says:

    Observations from around the Canadian camps as I emerge for summer hibernation:

    My god do Gonchar and Alfie look old.

    I didn’t realized that I missed Bryan Murray’s lisp.

    Vodkov is to Yemelin as Red Bull is to Red Cow?

    Jets jerseys get a non resounding pass …

    My god Zibenijad and Da Costa look young …

    Schenn is signed and Wyowitka wear #8 … Komi is truly and afterthought.

    Habs (oops, hockey) inside out puckcast – i hope Mio is the designated driver for that crew…

    Luongo looks to be in shape – he loks like he’s lost about 10 lbs, and thats only due to the use of more enviromenetally friendly hair products.

    How many first round picks does is take to create another lottery pick. Anyone? Taylor? Ryan? Jordan? Oskar? Magnus? Sam?

    Any chance thayt Iginla’s center has 2/3 of his point total this year? If only the man had some help.

    Tony Marinaro … we’ve been punked!

    Thank got for the majesty of the game. It’s been a long, hot summer. RIP Yaroslavl, RR, DB, WB.

    Can’t wait till Tuesday – Habs rock!

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I just hope Avtsin, Gallagher, Leblanc or Kristo soon come on board and wear 27 so we can finally put Kovalev behind us.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • RetroMikey says:

        None of these guys will have the skill and talent to be like Kovalev.
        We’ll be lucky in any of them amount to anything in a Habs uniform.
        Prospects? Only time will tell.

        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

        • Chorske says:

          Pff. Hopefully they will make up for their comparative lack of skill and talent by a) working hard b) showing up every night c) playing to the system that their coach sets up d) prioritizing the team over their own divaesque interests.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          If they try each night, they’ll quickly become respectable favourites and bring some pride back to 27.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

        • Old Bald Bird says:

          Pretty sure I recall you saying Subban wasn’t ready. Pretty sure.

        • Un Canadien errant says:

          Mikey do you dash these posts off before you had a chance to think? There is no question that the four players listed are prospects. They are in the system and are being developed as prospective NHL’ers. There is no need for time to ascertain whether they are prospects or not.

          How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

        • 44har48 says:

          Mikey, Avtsin is going to be better in a Habs uniform than Kovalev ever was. Not only will he flash as much skill, he’ll show up most nights, like everyone else does, and give good effort. Avtsin was paying pro hockey at 18. He’s 20, and when he is done filling out, he will be as big and strong or bigger than Kovie. And the real treat, when he learns how to comunicate on the ice better, will be how he makes his teamates better, something Kovalev could never do.

          I’ll make a bold statement here: I strongly feel Andrei Kostitsyn regressed in his development because he played with Kavalev and picked up some horrific lazy habits.

        • habsguy says:

          true, and I dont know anything about them, but I they already have twice the heart !!!!

  6. Chorske says:


  7. Hate to pile on, but it looks even worse compared to Gionta and Darche, who are ripped:

  8. Curtis O Habs says:

    He has a great personality.

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    As long as Yemelin can stick that rear end of his out at the blue line and nail Lucic in the Knees, he can eat as many poutines as he wants!

  10. Stuck_in_To. says:

    Don’t worry too much about Fatty, I mean Yemelin, until he is proclaimed to be out of shape. Not only can a picture be misleading, but there are a lot of racial attributes that lead people to retain and conserve fat … especially if your genetic code was developed in the arctic and subarctic. (Remember, Russia share the same geography as Canada.) Ergo, an Inuit or Cree person, who might be capable of running a marathon, is not going to look like someone from a more southernly genetic stock. I am not going to waste my time looking for pictures of Jordon Tootoo without his shirt on — who’d want that in their browser history? — but I am betting he does not look like Cammy. Fit is fit. If Fatty, I mean Yemelin, can keep up on the ice then that is all that matters and that is all the remains to be seen.

    And think of the energy reserves the boy has!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Fair point. I’m also wondering if the photog has seven or eight pictures and this is the least-flattering one of the bunch. The Hickey-Stubbs-Boone cabal might be trying to increase pagehits at the expense of our sanity again.

      What’s next, an Erin Andrews interview?

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  11. scrowe21 says:

    Everyones over reacting. Yemelin will be fine, he is not that out of shape. Compare him to PK, yes he looks bad, but he can still play hockey, with or without a 6 pack.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      that is true if you are playing in a beer league. You have to be in shape to take the pounding of an 82 game sched. The KHL doesn’t play nearly that many games.

      If he is in this kind of shape he will get an injury for sure.

      Look at Gui last year. Missed almost the entire year cause of showing up out of shape. The worst part is Gui never looked as out of shape as Yemelin does

    • JD_ says:

      I’m not a athletic conditionin’ coach – I just play one on the Intraterweb – but given Yemmy’s 6’2″, I’ll venture he’ll be fine in about 10-15 lbs.

  12. SeriousFan09 says:

    Yemelin’s got the wrong kind of 220lbs on his frame. Must have the ‘training camp to get in shape’ philosophy, he’ll need to ditch that if he hopes to stick in the NHL and especially with the Habs. Training camp is going to be hard on him.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  13. G-Man says:

    I guess HIO can thank Marinaro for his complete bs “scoop” on Markov. Hope he’s wearing nose plugs, because that “scoop” stinks!

  14. Hobie Hansen says:

    Ok, I’m 35-years-old, never workout and I look like Yemelin in that picture. Ok maybe a little more flab than that but still!!!

    Get your ass in gear there kid!!!!

    Markov’s knee and now Yemelin’s gut, what else could happen?

  15. wall2bay says:

    I dunno what scares me more…..Markov’s knee or Yemelin’s belly?

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  16. Un Canadien errant says:

    Oh Alexei, I’ve just lost my mancrush. For shame.

    There goes my July dream of a lethal Markov-Yemelin tandem to start the season.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • Stuck_in_To. says:

      He certainly lacks the definition we associate with uber-atheletes but then again so does the physique of sumo wrestler and I imagine one of those might effectively clear Price’s crease assuming the sumo could skate. I am clearly looking for the upside here but having a son who is half Cree, I know that body fat is not necessarily a sign of lack of fitness. Okay, okay, he looks very soft here … sob.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      It’s weird because Russian players used to be the most fanatical about off-ice conditioning. The first players over from the Soviet teams, aside from Vladimir Krutov, blew away their teammates with their fitness.

      Maybe North American hockey, especially since the Gary Roberts-Steve Stamkos revolution, has overtaken the Russian system. Maybe Mr. Yemelin could dominate in the KHL purely on skill and natural ability and could coast on the dryland training. Obviously, he’ll soon understand that this isn’t going to cut it, when Mike Cammalleri and PK Subban are YouTube stars for their summer training. Here’s hoping theirs and Mr. Markov’s diligence rubs off on him.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  17. Da Hema says:

    I’m not a professional athlete, but I believe my body fat percentage is not much higher than what Yemelin’s appears to be in that image above. That’s not a good sign…for either of us.

    • habaddict_andy says:

      Doesn’t it say 205 lbs was Yemelin? If it’s true then this is not good. Imagine he weighs 205 and it’s mostly fat! He will have slower adaptation then expected.

      Go! Hockey! Go!

      • Da Hema says:

        I am sure the Habs’ coaching staff and management are displeased already.

        Yemelin will never see the NHL if his idea of summer conditioning is lifting scoops of sour cream on perogies.

    • shiram says:

      Well he does seem to have solid frame of muscle under that fat layer.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

  18. Morenz7 says:

    “I have water in my basement”—classic.

    Reminds me of Chretien. Remember? “I put pepper on my plate!”

  19. wow yemelin looks like he could drop a couple houses…

    also whats that in his pocket D:

  20. Propwash says:

    So, do we still throw Markov under the bus, as well as the rest of the team, or…….?

  21. JF says:

    It’s somewhat encouraging that Markov says there’s “a chance” he’ll play in the season opener. That means he’s weeks rather than months away. The team needs to be careful with him. If he misses the first month of the season, it’s not a catastrophe.

  22. Timo says:

    So we have Diaz and Dietz? Awesome.

  23. Sharks9 says:

    Haven’t really heard anything about Etienne Brodeur, does anyone think he’s going to be on Hamilton? He put up some really good numbers in the QMJHL this year!

    25 before 14

  24. zig616 says:

    What do people think about Willsie at some point coming up. He is 6’1 over two hundred. Scored 30 goals and about 38 assists for hershey last year. Veteran at age 33. This could be a good fourth liner that can score not like travis moen

    • If Willsie gets called up, we’re going to be in a world of hurt because that would mean our forward ranks would be decimated.

    • Chorske says:

      HAH, clearly not big and gritty enough. I’ll let you duke it out with the Paul Gaustad guy.

      • MJ says:

        I’m known to you as “the Paul Gaustad guy”? I guess my nick is too difficult for you to remember huh?

        Mate, hockey is a game that includes toughness and even if you are correct and we out hit the Bruins (which you gave no proof of in your previous post), you can’t have enough of it. I’m not advocating gooning it up here a la Burke (which you referred to), the Maple Leafs have a lack of talent with toughness being the only ingredient in abundance.

        This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

        • punkster says:

          Gaustad. This week’s Konopka.
          Dime a dozen but way too expensive for a 4th liner plug.

          ***Subbang Baby!!!***

          • MJ says:

            We’re all entitled to our opinions. I have no problem with those who disagree. At the end of the day PG is the decision maker and we just have opinions.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

        • The Dude says:

          MJ ,don’t sweat it man….there are alot of fans on this site who view the Habs as a team destined for some kind of Gandhian sainthood and that will one day rise too the top so impressively it will change the nature of the game!Myself,I just want a Stanley cup run , win and an EVERY DAY BEAT DOWN OF THE BOSTON BRUINS….so Gaustad sounds good to me!As I see it the Habs need to grow a couple and really play as a team”every player” and for once I would love to see it where a team like Boston is afraid to try their intimidating bullspit on a Habs team again! ….

          • MJ says:

            The Dude, Amen to that! As much as I am a fan of the peaceful approach, that doesn’t apply to hockey where toughness is a factor in every single game where at least one of the team has it. It’s part of NHL hockey and anyone that can’t stand watching it should find a non contact sport to watch. Toughness doesn’t mean goonery.

            Teams like Philly and Boston that have toughness and players with talent need to know that we can also push back AND play with them on every front.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

          • habaddict_andy says:

            Yes it’s true we need size but I believe it’s overblown that there have been statements regards to Canadiens being unable to compete in physical level. Our team did not back down that easy. We have a team that can compete and they showed that when playing against a Stanley Cup team. Bringing Cole and the come back (I hope he has his form back) of Pacioretty should be interesting this season.

            Go! Hockey! Go!

          • MJ says:

            @ habaddict_andy, never said this team lacks a fighting spirit. I’m simply a believer that there are two things in this game you can’t have enough of: talent and toughness. I too am excited to see what the addition of Cole and MaxPac for a full season will do for this team in terms of both offense and toughness.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

          • Chorske says:

            Oh dear. Where to begin. So many caps, so many exclamation marks.

            Who is talking about “Gandhian Sainthood”? Did I not specifically mention the Habs and their ability to outhit the Bruins? At any rate, the larger issue remains whether the rock-em-sockem bruiser hockey by you Don Cherry wannabes actually wins championships. It does NOT. Just ask the Canucks, who tried to intimidate the Bruins and ended up getting away from their game plan and losing. Also: it just so happens that I prefer the Habs strategy of priotizing fast, skilled players (regardless of their size) because I like that kind of hockey, not because I aspire to some Gandhiesque ideal. I hate hockey goonery, because the NHL could showcase olympic-style hockey, all season long… and instead, we’re being force-fed some bullshit version with fights and grit and vendettas and that version is no better than pro wrestling. I think the game deserves better. And so do YOU, as a hockey fan, even if you don’t have the wit to realize it.

          • MJ says:

            A guy that can’t remember a two letter nick writing about wit. Interesting.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

          • MJ says:

            I suggest you look at my replies to your posts below and give us some proof about the ability of this team to out hit the Bruins.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

          • Chorske says:

            It’s not that I can’t remember your sig. It’s that I don’t care.

            You want me to Google the stats for you? Really?!

          • MJ says:

            Pay attention if you’re going to engage me in a discussion. I said that you can’t remember my two letter NICK, but hey that’s clearly too complicated for you to understand huh? Instead you refer to my sig yet AGAIN! Clearly you googling anything to back up what you say is beyond your capacity so I don’t expect you to do anything more than to watch, listen and learn from others.

            You’re embarrassing yourself.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

  25. ClaytonM says:

    How does one get a pic uploaded since the site’s been changed?

    Ken Dryden For NHL Commissioner

  26. RetroMikey says:

    1 injury in Markov to start the training camp.
    Who’s next? Gomez? Pacioretty? Gionta? Gomez? Gorges? Gill? Price? Spacek? ………….?
    Sometimes it would have been wiser to sign an underrated Hamrlik than blow all that money on a player like Markov who I predict, will not play 20 games this season if that.
    Blowing money on Gomer, now Markov, oh the pain!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  27. Habitoban says:

    “Fragile recovery.” Are we talkin’ Markov or the economy? Either way, it’s hard to believe the experts.

  28. Timo says:

    Forget Markov… what about Gomez? How are his knees? I want more updates on him.

  29. skoalbandit says:

    not 100 percent? thats not an update. what happened? how long until he expects back? we need to know what really is going on

  30. Paulin98C says:

    If you take a look at forwards, its easy to tell who will play with who on opening night….

    Different story on D:
    Team A: Gill, Markov, Weber, Yemelin
    Team B: Gorges, Spacek
    Team C: Subban

    What do you make of that?

    IMO, I find it hard to pencil in the D as I have no idea how Yemelin will do, and if Markov is ready to go….

    But if all healthy, and Yemelin playing at the level he played on international level… Im thinking about these match ups:

    Gill – Subban
    Markov – Yemelin
    Gorges – Weber

    Don’t shoot me here by having Gill as #1 D…. I think of it as balanced 1A and 1B D pairing.

    • Chris says:

      Based on his regular season play in the first half of the last two seasons, I will be quite surprised if Hal Gill is playing anything close to #1A or #1B minutes. If he does, it is because Markov is not back and the Habs defence is in disarray.

      Gill is at his best on the PK and in the playoffs. But he is simply too old and slow now to keep up with NHL calibre skaters for an entire season.

    • Guy-Guy-Guy says:

      If you look at most successful team’s D , all the eggs are in one basket, and play nearly 30 minutes…


      We have two defensemen that, when healthy, should be on the ice for 30 minutes a game… Markov and Subban. Otherwise we have a couple of guys who are role players, either limited offensively (Gill and Gorges) or defensively (Spacek – yet to be tested Yemelin, and Weber)

      Therefore, I think our D parings shoud be

      1) Subban – Markov – playing huge minute
      2) Gill – Gorges as shutdown pair / first PK wave
      3) Spacek / Yemelin or Weber: low minutes against the opposing bottom 6, second PP wave

  31. Chrisadiens says:

    Panic scale 7.

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  32. kempie says:

    This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Andreas Engqvist anyone?

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I don’t think he’s afraid of physical contact, but I wouldn’t call him overly aggressive, issue for him has been improving skating and upping his weight so he can handle the NHL.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • kempie says:

        Actually, I was offering this post as a rebuttal of sorts to MJ’s “Paul Gaustad anyone?” sig line. But seriously, there’s room for one more and I think he is going to get a good long look in the next couple of weeks. I’m not real crazy about White or DD centering the 4th line.

        • MJ says:

          Kempie, Engqvist can benefit from another year in the AHL.

          Thanks for the flattery and paraphrasing me.

          This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

          • kempie says:

            Well, he is 6’4″ and a centre, so I just thought it’s got to be worth throwing him between Moen & White for a couple of games next week and see what’s what before we start calling other GMs. I agree he would likely benefit from more AHL time, and he’s not the physical beast you’re after, but we should give him a look.

          • MJ says:

            We agree. Of course the habs should give him a good look if for no other reason than to evaluate his progress. A lot of players of that size take a bit more time to develop, this is not a knock against what Engqvist will hopefully bring to this team in the future.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

    • ClaytonM says:

      It would be a longshot if they gave that assignment to a rookie. Habs management wants their younger players to concentrate on defense and to not take themselves out of the play, so I don’t see Engqvist, or any rookie, going for the big hit, unless he’s paired with 2 wingers who’ll cover his ass.

      Ken Dryden For NHL Commissioner

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I personally don’t think Engqvist and agression belong in the same sentence

    • Chorske says:

      Careful, I know someone who’s gonna Gaustad on yo ass.

      • MJ says:

        Dude go watch figure skating or girls hockey soccer might be too physical for you. We get it you don’t agree with me and anyone who thinks that the habs can afford to gain toughness. Get over yourself.

        I posted the Gaustad thing as my sig and I don’t incessantly harp on it cause I have nothing more to bring to a discussion, you on the other don’t miss an opportunity to repeat your opinion that the habs don’t need more toughness with no consideration for other people’s ability to get your point the first time and the the fact that others have their own opinions too. I hope you get my point cause I don’t want to have to Gaustad on you again.

        This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

        • Chorske says:

          See? This is where it always goes with you gritaholics. If people don’t agree with you, you start invoking GIRLS SPORTS (an insult to the many fine ladies on HIO, and the many excellent and very tough female athletes). Or figure skating.

          Come out of the cave! It’s the 21st century.

          I love how a guy who sets up his sig to repeat the same trite message ad nauseam is giving me lessons about repeating myself. Gaustad away! That’s the whole point of the site. Besides, if you actually read my posts, you would see that I have more than one message. I also disparage people who crap on Gomez, and AK, and who boo their own team, and blame the refs, and those who advocate tanking or deliberately injuring another team’s players. Also, those who propose idiotic trades or line combinations. And those who crap on European players.

          • MJ says:

            The only thing that repeats ad nauseam is your incessant rant, you’re annoying as hell. Seems like you don’t understand how a sig works, I set it up ONCE and it repeats every time I post, are you sure you’re not referring to my nick this time?

            Frankly you’ve shown how little fact is included in your opinions and yes that is indeed the problem with sites like this one, people like you that can rant forever with nothing of substance to say.

            Another proof of how limited you clearly are is that you somehow decided that I am a Don Cherry fan when I have repeatedly said toughness is not goonery, I don’t advocate goonery. Try making sense.

            This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

  33. habs-hampton says:

    I’m curious as to how much Emelin actually weighs. We’ve seen all kinds of different numbers.

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