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Forget the Beer – A White Russian Please …?

It has been a long time since the Montreal Canadiens got drunk. 

Sure the team , or rather – the players , are out and about partying. Sure there have been many nights when Les Habitants have been spotted in the city ‘ s clubs. Drinking, carrying on and being ‘ boys ‘. The Canadian Canadiens drink beer, the American Habs drink shots, the Europeans down wine and the Russians drink Vodka.  Following a convincing 4-1 win in Vancouver last night , the team woke up with a hangover . The  benefits of a White Russian

The Habs have had  a few white russians skating the Bell Center since their star defenceman ; Andrei Markov , disappeared into the boards an eternity ago. Kostitsyn – Andrei,  was the main guy yet in the words of ‘ The Dude ” in the Big Lebowski ;  Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here! ”

More times than not , brother Andrei – despite his size , skated like prized china in a bull shop. Kostitsyn played like so many Russians once they were given money and cars to play in the NHL. Flashes of skill dotting intermittent flashes of brilliance spawned by special talent. This is where Markov separates himself from the мужчины (muzhchíni).

In a ten year career in Montreal, the good brother Andrei – has seldom taken a shift off. He is the type of player who loves to play hockey and tries to improve with every game. Few players in the history of our glorious sport have skated with a sixth sense. ‘ Eyes in the back of Gretzky’s head ‘ type of guys. The men who skate with NHL boys. The individuals who are above the pettiness of wondering how to skate, pass or shoot. Instead they are thinking what happens if – what happens when – what happens …?

Lemieux of the Mario kind had it. His pal in Pittsburgh – Jaromir ( move like Jagger ) had it. A Concussed Crosby hopefully still has it. The shame with Andrei Markov is that no one save for a few individuals ” got ” what  Markov had over the years in a Habs uniform.

Mr. Markov returned to the mix last night on a team that has played like a bunch of drinking boys at a frat party trying to pick up chicks.  Sometimes they hit , sometimes they got lucky yet more often than not – they went home empty-handed. One hand was what they used on too many evenings as the members of the Habs lay in their beds. Alone. Despondent. Dreams of the playoffs – nightmares of the worse kind.

Is Markov ‘s return to the Canadiens at such a time the proper decision ? Why risk an injury with just over ten games left in a season that is headed nowhere fast ? Another four months of a steady rehabilitation process surly the proper recipe for a tasty white russian ?

According to Markov himself – and any great athlete will concur ; it is time to play or craziness will set in. This is what separates a great player from the Alexandre Daigles of the world. Markov’s itchiness is the same itchiness which had him injured in the first place. Competiveness is the name for Markov’s infliction and it is something that will not go away. It is what got him to the NHL and it is what made him rise to the top echelons of the defensive core in the entire league.

Markov is making more money than an entire continent of Russian militia. Andrei is aware that pundits, fans and general managers across the league believe that Pierre Gauthier is doing crack in his high – rise office. They believe Gauthier erred on the side of crack-tion by signing Andrei to a three year deal . A huge contract signed by a limping Markov.

Markov is not playing to aid Gauthier’s public image. The thirty – four year old from Voskresensk, Russia is not playing because he has grown tired of the Habs head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Andrei Markov is playing because he can.

Lets hope the team continues to get drunk …


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