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января 2003 года.
Habs' Brother Andrei playing like an all-star - Montreal Gazette
Markov draws teammates' high praise. Russian rearguard 'on the brink of stardom,' Hackett says of Canadiens' No. 4 scorer
By RED FISHER
Here, where the snowbirds come to rest their weary and aching bones, it was a day like any other day. The temperature: somewhere in the high 70s. Br-r-r-r! Hey, it's cold outside down here!
A few rink lengths away from their hotel, 14 of the scorching Montreal Canadiens (a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto on Saturday and a comeback 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Monday) strutted their stuff for what was to have been an optional practice. That was followed by a noon meeting of the players "to adjust a few things," as Oleg Petrov described it.
Finally, it was time to get down to important matters, such as filling lounge chairs around the pool area, dressed to the nines in bathing suits and completely cool sunglasses.
St?phane Quintal and Patrice Brisebois were there. So was Donald Audette, who had been engaged in a lengthy on-ice conversation with rookie NHL coach Claude Julien earlier in the day. (Unlike the practice, the exchange of Julien-Audette dialogue wasn't optional.)
Saku Koivu and Jeff Hackett, the latter on a Florida holiday, were there. Petrov and Andrei Markov also were there. Yeah, that one, the ... uh ... private, 24-year-old defenceman who was the best player in Monday's comeback win over the Panthers, as he has been in many of the Canadiens' dance dates of this thus-far curious, frustrating, up-and-down, high-low season dedicated to a place in the playoffs.
Know something? Nineteen wins, 19 losses, five ties and five overtime losses into the season, Brother Andrei might be the best player on this team. Almost everyone's choice, as it should be, is scoring leader Koivu (13 goals, 31 assists, plus-12), but the sounds Koivu might be hearing are those of Markov's Russian footsteps.
So why, as the season chugs along to the Feb. 1-2 all-star break, isn't the charming, effusive and bubbly Markov among the blizzard of names on the Eastern Conference all-star team?
"I am not a star," Markov explained yesterday. "Petrov is."
"Are you bitter? Disappointed?"
"Nyet," Markov grunted.
(End of interview.)
Anyway, back to the millionaires filling the five-and-dime lounges around the pool.
"He should be on the team," suggested Quintal, who's not on it. (The team, not the lounge.)
"I agree," added Brisebois, who's also not on it.
"He's having a fantastic season," Petrov insisted.
"They want the big names," Brisebois continued, with a wave of two fingers (representing quotes) on each hand.
"I was there once and I wasn't a big name," Audette said. "It was fun being there, but that's all it is."
"He's on the brink of stardom," contributed the scholarly Hackett, who won't start tonight's Clash at the Summit (7 p.m., RDS) against Tampa Bay.
The Lightning will have Martin St. Louis representing the Eastern Conference at Sunrise, Fla., and oh yes, he's "terribly excited" about it, the Tampa Bay scoring leader said yesterday. But if you want numbers on the Canadiens' Markov, consider these: his eight goals and 18 assists rank behind only the marvellous Koivu, Yanic Perreault and Richard Zednik.
Markov's average time of 23:05 in the 47 games he's played is No. 2 to the 24:03 Brisebois has logged in 48. His plus-9 is fourth on the team. Craig Rivet (plus-3) is the only other defenceman in the black, rather than red, area.
If you came in late, Brian Leetch and Sandis Ozolinsh, a minus-14 with Florida, are the defencemen the fans voted to the starting lineup, even though Leetch has played in only 28 of his team's 50 games. Nothing you can do about that - or is there? The additions to the team are Zdeno Chara, of Ottawa; Washington's Sergei Gonchar, the Islanders' Roman Hamrlik and New Jersey's Scott Stevens.
Still: "He (Markov) should have been added to the team," says Koivu, who's the Canadiens' completely worthy representative on the team.
"I am not a star," repeated Markov, while flipping over on his poolside lounge to get more of the plus-70s Tampa Bay sun on his muscled back.
What Andrei really is saying is all that matters is for the No. 10 Canadiens to win tonight against the Lightning, a team that stunned the No. 1 overall Ottawa Senators 6-2 on Monday.
Everybody into the pool!
Страничка Андрея Маркова на
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18 октября. Андрей Марков заговорил на английском языке!
18 октября. Андрей Марков заговорил на английском языке! - "Советский Спорт"