Andrei Markov underwent successful surgery on his right knee on May 14th.. Apparently the procedure was more successful than even the most optimistic of recovery estimates. At the time, it was predicted Markov would be sidelined six months which meant the best estimate for a return to the lineup was the November 20th game against Toronto, twenty games into the 2010-1011 season.
RDS, the Canadiens television rights-holder, reports that Markov is already back on skates,18 days before training camp opens September 17th. This doesn’t mean the repaired knee is ready to stand up to stops and starts and torque that a hockey player’s knee endures under game conditions but it does signal a return to the lineup much earlier than the original medical estimates.
Markov suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament when he was checked by the Penguins Matt Cooke in game one of the Eastern Conference semi-final. Most observers viewed Cooke’s check as legal under the rules. Markov tried to come back early in the Eastern final against Philadelphia but failed and his season was shut down. The surgery came immediately thereafter.
Along with his rehabilitation programme, Markov’s summer has been a busy one.
On July 16th, in front of judge Gilles Duguay, Markov was one of a group of 32 to become Canadian citizens. Markov also retains his Russian passport as a dual citizen. He has spent his last ten winters in Canada after being drafted by the Habs in the sixth round of the 1987 entry draft. He played his first game in North America in September of 2000. Markov is entering the final year of a four year 5.75 million dollar contract. According to Markov’s agent Don Meehan, negotiations for an extension have not yet begun.
Markov is a favourite to fill the vacant team captaincy last held by Saku Koivu two seasons ago. For the first time in the team’s history, the Canadiens did not appoint a captain last season.