Note: I would like to apologize for lack of activity. I was dealing with a brutal cold but posting should resume regularly.
Everyone needs to relax.
Around two weeks ago, Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin said that Andrei Markov would not play until the end of November. People were disappointed, and were upset that it was taking so long for the team’s biggest free agent signing to come back from his rehab and injury.
Fast forward to today. Yesterday, people were saying that Markov could return for tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Then, this afternoon Markov was absent from the team’s morning skate. That led to speculation that he had a setback, that he is being held out for tomorrow’s game to avoid a back-to-back situation or that it was simply a rest. The fact remains is that there was never precedent that he would return today. There probably wasn’t a setback, and there might not be if he doesn’t skate or play tomorrow either.
The fact is, although the team has been very secretive, there’s no reason to get worked up about Markov missing tonight’s game. The team had a December timeline a few weeks ago, and although he had an increased role in practice and even took a regular practice shift with Alexei Emelin, there was never confirmation that he would play today and a player, even rested like Markov, probably didn’t want to skate this morning because playing tomorrow may still be a possibility.
The moral to the story? Breathe. Relax. And start thinking about when Scott Gomez will return from his injury.
In other news, Louis Leblanc will make his NHL debut tonight, a big moment for him and the Canadiens. Leblanc’s stock has taken a bit of a hit since he was drafted (well, in reality, it may have not been as high as Canadiens fans had hoped when they chanted his name at the Bell Centre before the pick.) It works out nicely for Leblanc. He will be playing with Lars Eller and super sniper Travis Moen and will start on the road which will take a lot of the pressure of Leblanc but the microscope will be on him, even with the late night starts.
Peter Budaj will get the start tonight, leaving Carey Price for tomorrow. Martin seems to have confidence in Budaj, and that is a good sign. Last year, Alex Auld had his fourth start a month later than Budaj is getting his, and that will help Price and the Canadiens in the second half of the season when the push for the playoffs will be in full swing.