Nearly two weeks on from Markov's injury against the Carolina Hurricanes and the storm of attention has all but disappeared.
What started on the next day with know-it-all reports from RDS and Team 990 "medical experts" has all but dried up. There's no speculation. there's hardly any news. It's so far off the radar that I didn't notice Habs Inside/Out even re-reporting the TSN story of Markov's status.
It leaves one wondering if Montreal is already asking Andrei who?
I certainly am not. And I look to reports at least once a day to check in on the general's condition. For I understand that although the team will have nice streaks in his absence, as they have done twice this season now, that players as multi-talented as Andrei Markov aren't simply replaced.
The current replacement strategy is working well, and Picard is a better fit than MAB. However, we mustn't forget how we fret every year when Hamrlik runs out of steam, or how fatigue catches up with the group.
The encouraging news for Habs fans is this: if Markov needed surgery, he'd be having it. The very fact he needs more evaluation is the glimmer of hope in this catastrophic loss. Someone doesn't think surgery is necessary: doctor, player, other.
While it doesn't really matter whether Jacques Martin has ruled anything out or not, it does matter that Markov isn't quick to surgery as some players might be. His determination (and that hyperbaric chamber) is what got him back so quickly after the last two injuries, and it will be the most important factor this time too.
While that is encouraging short term, we can't comment on the long-term implication of this knee thing without some detail. No one has that. If he needs surgery and plays through, there could be argument that his career would be in jeopardy (not what we want). In terms of contract, it's a spanner in the works too. The Canadiens will likely have to get a bit creative with a hedged bet on his return to full health rather than risk losing the best player they have developed in a full 20 years.