Rabid Habs

Andrei Markov: The General

At the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Vincent Lecavalier was the first overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Coincidentally, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Eric Chouinard with their first round selection; passing over Simon Gagné. Chouinard never established himself as an NHL’er, while Gagné has become a legitimate first line winger.

In spite of that, it took the Habs six rounds to draft their true first pick. That player was Andrei Markov. Prior to coming to America, the converted forward was playing on the blue line for Dynamo in the Russian league.

In my opinion, Markov is still one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL. He may not be the fastest skater, but he isn’t the slowest. He doesn’t have the hardest shot, but it’s very accurate. He is bound to make some mistakes, but he is very effective defensively. He isn’t the most physical player; however his vision of the game makes up for it.

I know that Erik Karlsson is the fastest skater, Zdeno Chara has the hardest shot, Shea Weber may be better defensively and Dion Phaneuf may hit more. However, Markov is effective in all of those situations.

This year, after a few injury-plagued seasons, Markov played in 81 regular season games and amassed 43 points. Some may say that Markov is past his prime; that P.K. Subban now plays the role of quarterback, etc.. Despite these remarks, as a veteran and leader of the team, Andrei Markov earned his title – “The General”.