Photo: Tom Mihalek Archives Associated Press
“I think the numbers speak for him because he didn’t talk a lot,” said his former team-mate Steve Bégin.
Andrei Markov has marked the imagination of supporters of the Montreal canadiens for 16 seasons thanks to his accurate passing that made many team-mates richer, and not by his personality.
Markov, who is 41 years old, has retired from professional hockey on Thursday, a little less than three years after his departure from the Canadian. The news was first reported by the journalist Igor Eronko, the “Sport-Express” in Russian, and then was confirmed by various media in montreal.
In the course of his career, Markov has been one of the best quarter-back of the NHL in numerical advantage, but it may have never been recognized at its fair value excluding the province of Quebec.
“I think the numbers speak for him because he didn’t talk a lot “, has imaged his former team-mate Steve Bégin in an interview with The canadian Press.
Markov has played his entire career in the NHL with the canadiens, who chose him in the sixth round, 162nd overall, in the draft of 1998. In 990 meetings with the Habs in 2000 and 2017, he scored 119 goals and 453 assists.
He shared with Guy Lapointe, the second-highest in the history of the team in terms of points by a defender, with 572. Larry Robinson holds the team record with 883 points as the defender.
“I had the chance to play with players like Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios, I think Markov is a bit in the same line, said Guy Carbonneau, who has directed Markov during his three seasons as the head coach of the Canadian. This was not an endearing character-or who liked to smile and talk. But I think on the ice, it has certainly been one of the good players I’ve seen, that I have had the opportunity to lead. “
From 2005-06 to 2008-09, Markov ranked third among defenders in the NHL with 217 points in 304 games, behind Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski. He also helped Russia to win the world hockey Championship in 2008, in Quebec city.
Markov had his best campaign in 2008-09, amassing 64 points in 78 meetings.
“He had a vision of the game is exceptional and he was a player extremely intelligent, has noted Carbonneau. It has never been known for his skating, but he was a skater fluid. And what made the difference, it was his ability to identify its teammates, especially in the digital advantage. He has made guys like Mark Streit, Sheldon Souray, or even Mike Komisarek very rich ! “
Souray has had a campaign of 26 goals in 2006-07 with the Habs. Only Lapointe has done better in the history of the Canadian for a defender, with 28 goals in 1974-75. Komisarek has also seen his best days alongside Markov.
“In hockey, there is always a plan that must be followed to the letter, but he had his plan in his head, told Bégin. He was never stressed out, but his talent has led to his ascension among the best defenders in the circuit. “
However, Markov is often remained in the shadow of the great stars of the NHL, even if he has been invited to the all-star game two times. He has never finished higher than sixth in the voting for the Norris trophy, awarded to the defender par excellence in the NHL.
His career was derailed by injury between 2009 and 2012, including a significant injury to his knee suffered on November 13, 2010 in the face of the Hurricanes of Carolina. He was limited to 65 games in three seasons.
Once healthy, Markov has continued to be productive during his five seasons with the Habs, with 203 points in 354 meetings, good for 16th place among the defenders of the NHL between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
With a limited room for manoeuvre to keep Markov and the attacking Alexander Radulov, both unrestricted free agents during the summer of 2017, the general manager Marc Bergevin has finally been unable to agree with the two stars Russian.
Markov has finally played two campaigns with the Ak Bars Kazan, winning the cup Gagarin in 2018. He would have liked to go back to Montreal in September last, in particular, to reach the plateau of 1000 games with the team, but Bergevin was said to have turned the page and prefer to let the place to young people.
He was limited to seven points in 23 games with the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl this winter.