Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/22/13 at 08:21 AM ET
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
To be fair, Markov looks tired and beat up and it’s probably true that he hasn’t been the same since Alexei Emelin was hurt in a 2-1 victory over the Bruins at the Bell Centre April 6. Emelin was sidelined for the season and Markov very much misses his physical, stay-at-home partner.
The night Emelin was hurt, Markov played a shade under 24 minutes and was a minus-1. He was over 25 minutes with another minus-1 in the club’s next game, a loss to Washington, minus-1 with two points and a power-play goal against Buffalo, minus-2 in the debacle in Toronto that signalled the beginning of this skid, minus-1 against the Flyers, even with a late goal against Pittsburgh, minus-1 against Tampa Bay and minus-1 against the Caps Saturday.
Since Emelin went down, Markov is minus-8 in eight games, while consistently playing between 22 and 26 minutes throughout.
Remember, this is a guy who hasn’t played anything like a full season since 2008-09. This season, he has played 21 games with Chekhov Vityaz and 45 games with the Habs during a short, brutally intense NHL campaign.
Markov isn’t old, but he is 34, trying to run a marathon after four years of short sprints. Rather than cursing Markov, fans and the media in this town need to take the long view of what he’s trying to accomplish here, understand how very difficult that is in light of his recent history, and cut the guy a break.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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