Spotlight shines on Canadiens all-star Markov

Canadiens’ Andrei Markov, photographed with blue-line partner Mike Komisarek (8), is taking part in his first All-Star Game this weekend.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

He’s one of the least-known superstars in the National Hockey League. But this season, fans across the league took a hard look at the statistics, and probably his worth to the Canadiens, and voted defenceman Andrei Markov to his first NHL all-star team – as a starter.

The 29-year-old Russian came to training camp last September on the heels of having signed a four-year, $23-million contract in May that made him the richest Canadien of all time, and shortly after the departure of fellow defenceman Sheldon Souray, who carried the Habs power play to greatness last season.

But Markov has responded brilliantly to the challenges before him, and is on pace to enjoy a career-best season. This weekend’s All-Star Game festivities are tangible recognition of what he brings to the ice and the Canadiens dressing room now.

The quiet Markov spent a half-hour this week with The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs to chat for this feature story.

And Markov was accorded this huge praise by his blue-line partner Mike Komisarek, who coincidentally (or not) is having a terrific season of his own.



  1. 24 Cups says:

    Teach (again!) – What can we say about Brisebois that hasn’t already been said? I don’t see him in the same dark light as some posters do but I also feel that he came back this year as strictly an insurance policy. He would play if there were injuries or if a young guy wasn’t quite ready to make the jump to the NHL. Well the depth chart has six guys in front of him and O’Byrne is still on the injury list. So in my books, that makes Brisebois #8. Fine, we don’t know what is ahead of us injury wise so it’s great to have him around as a replacement. But if everybody is healthy, then I really can’t see him playing that much. How are Gorges and O’Byrne going to improve (and how will we evaluate them) if they are on the bench? If this season is about learning and gaining experience for a Cup run in the future, then these two young guys must play. Friendship and past accomplishments should not overrule what is best for the team.

    The Original 24 Cups

  2. Chuck says:

    Ian, you are truly an inspiration!

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  3. Ian G Cobb says:

    Showey-I was taken off the streets at 14 by this hockey club over 50 years ago. I owe them and the molson corporation who and what i am today, and the most fantastic person was Danny Gallivan who taught a dyslectic kid a vocabulary is learned one word at a time. So i learned how to talk very well my whole life and no one knew, not even my wife that i could not even write my name. I learned work ethics and corporate manerism and it carried the day.
    I have been very successfull in the corporate world, but my
    home was any rink in north america, and i have been in thousands.

    Now i’m retired and i have discovered a way to communicate by reading and writting on this site, all of you here are like family to me, you have no idea what this means to me. I have been hiding this fact for 60 years. And now i shout my story about what this hockey team means to me. Ian

  4. ebk says:

    you could be right

  5. The Teacher says:

    more? when have we ever had an old rent-a-player? lol

  6. ColRouléBleu says:

    Yay! thanks for the publicity for my clip 😉

    Even in a feature topic, during the All Star weekend, him being the only Habs representative in Atlanta and considering the great season he has so far, only a handful of posters are actually talking about him. Markov is REALLY low profile eh? 😛

    It’s OK, I can see how saying ‘he’s great’ can become boring at some point.

    “We want to play against a team, not a building.” ~ Guy Carbonneau

  7. The Teacher says:

    Exactly, the cost will probably be prohibitive, so I don’t see Gainey doing anything.

    I think Brisebois will be out sixth D, unfortunately, so that will do something to the mix when we have all of our D back healthy.

    Who sits?

    Kind of a repeat of the forward situation, but! I won’t mind if they came up with the same results the next time around either 😉

  8. likehoy says:

    if you have nothing to do…check thsi video on andrei markov in relation to spiderman…it’s hilarious!

  9. nightmare_49 says:

    What is this a contest : Higgins next captain , Chipchura next captain , Komi next captain and why don’t we bring back Mike Keane (whose still playing) to get his due. Saku’s our captain and will be thru our great run which is only starting. Lets put the captain thing to rest it’s so cournoyish.

  10. 24 Cups says:

    Ian – thanks for your update. As I mentioned before, I’m also impressed with the difference between our GF and GA (+18, thanks Boston!) which is about 5th best in the league. It’s all about little steps.

    The Original 24 Cups

  11. showey47 says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts ian, from what i’ve read in the past from other posters you have come a long way in your writing skills. Keep up the good work, your positive posts are always inspiring to read.

  12. nightmare_49 says:

    Hoegarden – I have nothing against our “D” men but one glowing void is a big veteran stay at home “D” man (a la O’Donnell) for our 2nd unit of PK. Cube is not cutting it and is being pushed around. This will be a temperary assignment for probably the rest of the year to assist Hamy on PK and play with Cube on our third unit (5 on 5). We won’t have to give up much and his salary would not be big and will give Marky more ice time to do his magic 5 on 5. Now , Carbo has no confidence in his 2nd unit and has tried everybody with Hamy to no avail. O’Bey will be the man in our future for that assignment but lacks experience and everybody else seems to lack the size. This is no way to diminish Gorges playing time , but a reality , who has been playing solid. As for being overstocked on “D” you should check our depth chart and you’ll see it lacks experience and will for 2 years or so unless something happens (Emelyn). As for sitting a good player out is a good problem not a headache as Carbo should rotate them more often as any experienced coach would do to keep everybody happy and Cube,Dandy,Tommy K. Begin Smols,Gorges,Breezer and the rest should be told this so they are aware of this (communication). You never know when a rash of injuries happen at the same position (remember Buffalo “D” men in the playoffs not long ago).

  13. Ian G Cobb says:

    Every week i have been posting the three most important stats in evaluating how a club sit in a 30 team league. With the most important stat first.

    GA-136– we are in 10th place now from 17th place last week.

    Total points-60–5th place now from 7th place last week.

    GF-154– We are in 5th place, same as last week,

    We have improved overall our place in a 30 team league each and every week for the past 14 weeks. Who says we don’t know what were doing or where were going.

  14. N.B.habs fan says:

    Keepryder ,nice picture and you are not alone Iam sure to keep Ryder.I do belive he will come back and score for us .We seam to being good right now when all the players are taking part ,I think Ryder works hard ,but is just having a little dry spell.look at tucker makes the same salary and he is having a dry spell to.

  15. Shiloh says:

    Agreed – with this possible exception. If we should lose Koivu in the next few months I would like to see Kovalev get it and then Komisarek.

  16. Chuck says:

    Here’s an interesting article regarding team’s chances of making the playoffs. A university professor ran stats through a computer, and the Canadiens came out with a 93% chance of making the playoffs. The laffs? 3%.


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  17. N.B.habs fan says:

    I have to agree with you there Ian I enjoy the skills compitation ,but I wont be watching the game ,mabe I will relax and watch a movie with my wife.

  18. KeepRyder says:

    The habs will need to keep the pedal to the metal for the rest of the season in order to have a playoff position. making a trade might help, but where do you look for help and what do you give up. There is little room for trades in the “new” NHL. Personally, I think we should keep what we have and go forward. Then see whats available in the offseason.

  19. N.B.habs fan says:

    thanks24 cups,this also a very interesting sightI look foward to coming on here to chat with such good fans..

  20. Edwardo says:

    TSN has shown more Habs games nationally for the last two years, than they have Leafs games.
    Local coverage is a different thing all together. Obviously they are not going to carry a habs game in Ontario over a Leafs game that is on the same night.

  21. N.B.habs fan says:

    hi Ian ,hey guys thanks for you help ,I am new at the commp.and I am learning fast with all your help. sorry Ian maybe I wrote it down wrong so here it is Looking foward to chatting with you.

  22. westhab says:

    Yeah Blake is toronto material, just wait and see.

  23. westhab says:

    you’re right when you say Komi should be at the All-star game. However he wouldn’t be able to do the things he’s best at. Crunching bodies!..and I’m not sure I’d want him blocking shots and risking injury. But yeah I voted for Komi and Markov.

  24. Ian G Cobb says:

    N.B. Hab—I tried to e- mail you as you asked, it came back here unopened. Maybe i wrote it down wrong?

    And when you check out the salires, see if there is an envelope there for me, and put a stamp on it please!

  25. Habs93 says:

    Try It also shows end of contract for each player.

  26. Bill H says:

    I just saw this in a Pat Hickey article:

    “Meanwhile, the league is preparing to announce an extension of its current contract with TSN. The deal will run through the 2013-14 season and will provide the network with more Toronto Maple Leafs games. Of course, the way the Leafs are going, TSN might want to renegotiate the deal so they get fewer Leafs games.”

    Speaking for Habs fans in Ontario, and probably across the country, NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The Leafs have been losers for 40 years, and show no signs of changing their way. The Habs have a young and exciting team on the rise. Let’s have a few more Habs games on the tube.

  27. 24 Cups says:

    Shiloh – Komisarek is our next captain.

    The Original 24 Cups

  28. Shiloh says:

    Komisarek is an untouchable. He should never be considered as trade material. Andrei Markov as well – we now have two-thirds of our Big 3.

  29. N.B.habs fan says:

    otter649,Thank you very much .I appreciate that.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Teach – At best, Blake would be here for the last 7 weeks of the season and the playoffs (if we make them). Assuming we make the playoffs, he would then be here for a playoff round or two. You also have to consider what a rental player might do to the team’s chemistry. Obviously, he’s much better than anyone else and would be a perfect 4th defeneman for us. But then he’s gone, never to return. (Forsberg, Leetch, Nolan, Guerin, Tkachuk) So the question becomes what do we have to give to get him as a rental? Right now the cost seems to be quite high based on past deals since the lockout. Would you give up Chipchura? O’Byrne? McDonagh? Pacioretty? Ist Round pick? I wouldn’t – I say let’s go with what we have right now.

    The Original 24 Cups

  31. Shiloh says:

    Please don’t ever think that would be OK. You could get far more for Komisarek – but he should never, never, never be traded. Blake? A joke, right?

  32. Bill H says:

    I’ve been one of those who have fantasized about Marleau in a Habs sweater. But as you point out, 24, $6.3M a year for 2 years is a sobering statistic. The crunch comes end of next season when we have UFAs Kovalev, Koivu, Komisarek, and RFAs Chipchura, Pleks, Higgins and Latendresse. Leaving aside the issue of trading the older vets out of necessity, I too would rather put my money on our current players. Bringing in a high priced outsider will only feed higher expectations for those we want to sign onto extensions. One hopes that current players, when they renegotiate, while pushing for hefty raises, will also want to stay with a team on the rise, the team they have grown and matured with, and will moderate their demands accordingly. $6.3M on the payroll only upsets that delicate balance. On the other hand, maybe this kind of home town discount is only a product of my imagination. I hope Bob renegotiates with at least some of them before the end of the season, because come end of season ’08 – ’09, we will be Stanley Cup champions.

  33. otter649 says:

    N.B. habs fan… go to the NHL PA website where they list the salaries
    of all NHL players by team……

  34. 24 Cups says:

    Infanteer – You have a valid point and I think what Gainey was trying to do was balance out his actions with all three UFA defensemen. All hell would have broken loose in Montreal if he had traded both Rivet and Souray at the deadline. I guess he felt he could make the playoffs by keeping Souray and maybe even win a round. Tough call.

    He could be in the same boat this spring in terms of Ryder, Huet, and Streit (UFA’s). Who to trade and who to keep. Once again, tough call. Personally, I’d keep Huet and Streit and take whatever I could get for Ryder. I doubt very much that Ryder would want to resign with us next year. Some other team will offer him a lucrative contract. That’s how the new NHL works these days.

    The Original 24 Cups

  35. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hi everyone,Could someone tell me where to find the players salary.

  36. The Teacher says:

    Going into the playoffs, would you rather have blake or Booly/OByrne on the roster?

    It is also only for this year, right. and you can’t hold over cap-dollars.

  37. 24 Cups says:

    Habs-Kat – I feel I’m as positive a Habs fan as you’ll find but realistically I don’t see us winning the Cup this year. Trading for Blake would be strictly a Lousy Leaf type of move and Blake strikes me as the type of guy who would have absolutely no interest in resigning with a Canadian team – his roots run too deep in the USA these days. Why squander assets now that may be beneficial in the next few years when we can really take a run at the Cup? Nashville, Atlanta, and Toronto are all examples of teams that got badly burned at the trade deadline by overpaying for over-the-hill players.

    In Bob we trust.

    The Original 24 Cups

  38. HABZ 24 says:

    markov is a good player but its komiserick who should be going to the allstar game, and he most deff will in the future no doubt.we do not need anymore defencemen.habz dont need to morgage the future trading any young talent away right now and bobs not the type to do that.stick with what brought us to this point.go habs go!!

  39. Hoegarden says:

    Do bears fly ? Blake is the type of player the laffs would love to have.

  40. Infanteer says:

    Let me expand . . .

    In asking the question, I was not talking about potential, plans for the player, price, etc.

    Straight up, I would prefer to have Komisarek on my blueline.

  41. HKisses says:

    Ya, i can agree with that. But same time i’d still wanna see an offensive player. In both cases i don’t really think we can go wrong. In either case of an addition,a player such as Blake or Tanguay (just an example).Im sure either player would affect our play in a good way.

    In Bob we Trust is right…Atleast we know he won’t lock down all his player like JFJ…”NO TRADE CLAUSE FOR EVERYONE”

    Thank god for Gainey

  42. Habs-Kat says:

    I don’t think O’Byrne’s ready for that role IF we have Cup aspirations this season. Its all about expectations. If the expectation’s that the Canadiens could and SHOULD make a push for the Stanley Cup this season, then I think Blake’s a good grab. He’s a UFA at the end of the season anyway. If you think 2009’s the year then no need to waste time with him.

    In Bob we trust.

  43. HKisses says:

    I hate u for even asking such a stupid question 😛 ……NEVER is the answer

  44. HKisses says:

    Meh…I would be a lilupset with that trade …6 Mil for his age and Defence. I think we are ok on D with Komi ,Markov,O’B,Hammer. Thats a pretty well sized and skilled defence, i don’t see any room for Blake in that. Maybe for size but thats about it. If your gonna spend that money ,we would be better off with a offensive player .6 more mil on a foward would be nice to see happen if its a qualitty player.

  45. Infanteer says:

    Would you trade Komisarek for Blake?

    I certainly wouldn’t.

  46. Infanteer says:

    Your post missed the Souray debacle.

    We could have gotten picks + prospects at the trade deadline . . . and I’m talkin’ first rounders and future NHLers.

    Instead, we got nothing.

    I never understand the celebrations at “letting someone go” for nothing, (also, Ribeiro . . . for whom we recived an overpriced Niinimaa, sp?). Letting Rivet go was a real success, because the barter was two-way.

  47. Hoegarden says:

    Two skull panels with Milbury in the middle, I love TSN. At least Pierre is actually “bright” if you know what I mean.

  48. Habs-Kat says:

    Well it is a trade, right? We can let go of a D-man (or two) for another D-man. And if we want to try to make a stab at the Cup this season, Rob Blake would be a welcome addition to round out the Top 4. As of right now, the fourth spot in our Top 4 isn’t being occupied by a real Top 4 defenseman. I don’t think it’ll happen, though, and I won’t be too upset by that.

  49. Hoegarden says:

    The last thing the Habs need is another D, they are overstocked. When OB returns, Carbo has another headache coming, who sits and who plays tonight ?
    Our current defense corps gets a +A so far this year. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

  50. von says:

    I agree about rental, but what if he agrees to stay?

    Would bump our D HUGE. But then again, that mean someone/someones are on the way out…

  51. 24 Cups says:

    von – No thanks. The price will be too high for this rental player.

    The Original 24 Cups

  52. Gormdog says:

    Mea culpa on the francophone comment. I always assumed Marleau was un des boys.

    Who do i trade?

    I’d say one of our “vets” (Ryder/SMolinski/Dandenault to free up some cap space), A first round draft pick (we get a second in return), and a mid prospect, since we have oh-so many of them in our system.

    I know Marleau is overpaid, and has underachieved, but this guy has leadership qualities and 40 goals written all over him if he could find the right linemates to click with.

    For once i want the Habs to be on the winning side of a trade for a mid-late 20’s player who is looking for a change of scenery. The kharmic hockey world owes us for Ribiero.

  53. von says:

    Saw this on

    “Red Wings D Chris Chelios is apparently trying to convince the Wings to add Kings D Rob Blake, who has a no-trade clause and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The Detroit News has San Jose, Colorado, the New York Rangers, Montreal and New Jersey being linked to Blake.”

  54. 24 Cups says:

    Hoegarden – Don’t worry about Weber being smallish, it’s standard procedure in Montreal to turn Swiss defensemen into part-time forwards:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  55. 24 Cups says:

    I think everyone in the hockey world has to commend Gainey for the way he handled the dilemma of having 3 free agent defensemen last spring. He picked up Gorges and Pacioretty for Rivet. He let the injury prone Souray go ($5.45 mil a year) and kept the best of the three for his own team. AND Markov is in the prime of his career as he is only 29 years old. Compare Markov at $5.75 mil a year to the following:
    Blake – 6 mil
    Timonen – 6.3 mil
    Jovanovski – 6.3 mil (not a UFA)
    McCabe – 5.75 mil
    Kubina – 5.0 mil

    Bob Gainey, take a bow on this one.

    The Original 24 Cups

  56. Hoegarden says:

    Anyone see the Bulls-Rangers game last night ?

    Yannick Weber sure has a decent shot from the blue. A bit smallish at 5’10”, 195 lbs but then again we have the Cube so why worry about that.
    19 goals so far for him, most of them on the PP.

    PK Subban; Hard to figure him out, decent skater but he’ll have to make some tweaking on his Savardian spin or he’ll get killed if he makes it to the NHL.

    Coincidence or not;
    PK gets a penalty and Weber follows with a goal a few secs later. It takes two Habs prospects to get some action on the ice.

  57. Hoegarden says:

    I see wheatfields and silos… Marleau is from Aneroid, Saskatchewan and to the best of my knowledge, he does not parlez vous a lot.

    Both Marleau and Higgs are in “search mode” at the moment, especially Marleau. The question is who loses his Hab jersey on this ?

  58. 24 Cups says:

    Gormdog – I just closed my eyes and I quickly woke up in a sweat. Marleau, who grew up in Saskatchewan and played junior in the WHL, has always been one of those guys who was full of potential but never really became a star. Right now, his year long slump makes Ryder’s look like a weekend picnic. Marleau’s pay for the next two years is $6.3 million per year which should give anyone nightmares. Same goes for Brad Richards and his $7.8 million per year. I would much rather give that money to Higgins/Pleks/Komi. I also shudder to think what a sharp GM like Doug WIlson would want in return. Outside of dumping Dandy and Ryder, I would be quite happy if the Habs did nothing at the trade deadline. They would be much better off waiting until the summer to make any major moves.

    The Original 24 Cups

  59. HKisses says:

    lol …hmmmm i don’t know about Marleau comming to MTL. But ur right we can dream, TSN is buncha rumor starting bast&rds, Bob Mckenzie should retire he is so annoying, and i noticed he shaved his head and made it all shiny like Pierre Maguire’s. I luv Pierre,but hate TSN and Mckenzie.But let me ask you this, if we do attempt to get Marleau. Who do you think we will give up for him?

  60. Gormdog says:

    TSN is reporting that the Habs have been sniffing around San Jose, hoping to catch the scent of Patrick Marleau. Talk about the ultimate high-end-buy-low-french-canadien-generally-kickass-goal-scoring centre…

    Just close your eyes for a second… What`s that you see? Is that Higgins and Marleau, fighting in the corners side by side, winning battles and putting pucks in the net?

    A fan can dream…

  61. Shiloh says:

    Sorry, Ian – thought you were looking for new words. “Kovalev handled the puck like a prestidigitist while the crowd fawned over his skill.”

  62. showey47 says:

    we are ranked 22nd at 48.6%, detroit is first at 54.4%

  63. Ian G Cobb says:

    Over my head teach,

  64. Shiloh says:

    Hey Ian – I have to write a lot. Being a former English teacher, I love new words as well. Here’s an excellent group of synonyms – every word is a nice way of describing a suck-up or an ass-kisser:

    fawning, abject, servile, obsequeious, oleaginous

    Two excellent nouns meaning ‘magic’ that are stolen directly from other languages:

    legerdemain (from the French ‘lightness of the hand’) and prestidigitism (from the Italian for ‘fast fingers’)

    That’s enough new words – Go Habs!

  65. Hoegarden says:

    Ian, if I may add to your excellent comments, my pet peeve is faceoffs and since Bob Gainey made it clear at his last press conference that we sucked big time on faceoffs, it has been addressed, corrected some and we now seem to own the puck a lot more. We were ranked around 27th,28th earlier and will have to check where we stand now.

  66. Hoegarden says:

    don’t you be getting too techie now, otherwise you’ll have to jump from the corporate crowd to the geek crew.

  67. N.B.habs fan says:


  68. Ian G Cobb says:

    Thanks Chuck, hope we get another chance to have another brew, for inspiration! Great new one according to Webster!

  69. likehoy says:

    he’ll be the first one traded.

  70. P St. Pierre says:

    Great story, Dave. I really enjoyed it. Andrei Markov has long been my favorite player on the Canadiens’ roster and it’s good to see him finally get his deserved recognition.

  71. Da Hema says:

    There is a tremendous risk to signing players to long-term contracts. Will the player continue to perform at a high level? Andrei has been worth every dollar the Habs are paying him–and so too Hamrlik. When Markov plays well, the Habs win. A few weeks ago, when Andrei was not playing well, the Habs struggled. No doubt Plekanec and Kovalev have lifted the Habs this season, but Markov is the one player who almost single-handedly determines whether the Habs win. He is the most complete player on the team. Gainey did a fantastic job inking Markov–and Hamrlik–to long term deals. I see, too, that Sheldon Souray is injured yet again. I feel for him–and hope he returns and has a great career with Edmonton–but I am glad he chose to sign in Edmonton. Our defence is so much better now without Rivet and Souray.
    “The worst day of fishing beats the best day of working.”
    –Martin Crane, “Frasier”

  72. nightmare_49 says:

    Excellent clip , a must see.

  73. Ian G Cobb says:

    Good afternoon all! Just wanted to post about the up comming fun skills competition and the meaningless game itself.

    I quite enjoy watching the skills events and seeing how much fun the players have in showing off there individual talents. So i will be looking forward to that.

    But on the other hand, the so called all star game, i don’t have any interest in watching hockey players figure skate

  74. Ian G Cobb says:

    I can fit in anywhere, but i got to tell you, this retirement, I,m just melting away to a ton!

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