Thursday, October 18, 2012

Russian Reports At It Again

 Some actual news regarding the Montreal Canadiens worth spending some time on.

Apparently, someone scouring the Internet for French radio in Montreal came across a Russian interview with Andrei Markov that indicated his hesitation about returning to the NHL.

Sportsnet has since reported Don Meehan (Markov's agent) has debunked the report, but one still wonders.

It is possible that Markov said such a thing. It's very likely that the thought has crossed his, and many a player's mind, at some point during all this nonsense. Although, it's unlikely Markov would forego his salary to enjoy the joys of Siberian winter this season, it is conceivable that such labour shenanigans have coloured his thoughts for the future.

Were this a story about Raphael Diaz opting to stay in a league where he can dominate, it would perhaps not be worth putting finger to keyboard, but this is Andrei Markov. Every optimistic scenario about the Canadiens relies heavily on a healthy portion of Markov recovery. Every imaginable scenario without Markov (even skating on one leg) makes the Canadiens worse off than they would be with him in the fold.This would be a 15th place team without question, and who knows where the way out would lie.

OK, so this is a lot of doom and gloom about a Russian report. After all, aren't all these reports mistranslations of misquotes. That's always been the case in the past

Or has it?

Although vehemently denied to save the outrage, one has to think that much of what Kovalev was reported to have said in newspaper reports from 2009 was true. We know that Gainey had to walk him through Old Montreal, after all, and that a few weeks later the coach he "didn't" deride was fired seemingly out of hand.

The same must be said of quotes from the Kostitsyns and others that seem more plausible than the denials that were issued in retrospect.

Markov likely can't eschew his contract obligation, and his North American agent will remind him of that. But come the lapse of that contract, what is to stop him from scanning the labour situation in North America and planning an exit following the end of the CBA, which if the players have their way will be in 2015.

This damage from this CBA is yet to be fully surveyed, but this tenuous report may give a glimpse into the damage it has caused to the league's credibility among a few of its players who see Europe as as-good an option for their future livelihood.

Maybe even that's not a big deal. But then ask where the league's talent would be without the top selection of Europeans. The aptly named Scott Laughton (second-highest North American born forward drafted this past draft at #20) might give some indication.

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