Saturday, January 25, 2014

Andrei Markov Autograph Card

And now the final card in my trade with Kyle, the most consistent NHL defenseman of the past decade not named Nicklas Lidstrom (and my favourite), Andrei Markov:
It's from Upper Deck's 2009-10 Be A Player set (card #S-AM of the Signatures sub-set) and shows him wearing the Montréal Canadiens' white (away) uniform, with the team's Centennial patch on the right shoulder.

I've featured him twice before, so I won't dwell on his past so much, but I will say that after two seasons of just about not playing due to injury, he came back with a vengeance last year, dominating on the blue line and helping teammate P.K. Subban get his hands on the Norris trophy and earning the nickname ''The General'' from head coach Michel Therrien.

In fact, Markov specializes in making his partners look great (and earn huge paychecks), as he has done with Sheldon Souray (who broke a team record for powerplay goals by a defenseman from The General's perfect set-up passes) to Mike Komisarek to Mark Streit (who was often a healthy scratch or even used as a forward before Markov's passes made him a powerplay specialist). Subban's just the latest.

The General will even get to play in the Olympics in his home country in a couple of weeks, as he'll be Russia's leader on the blue line. He'll probably need some rest eventually, as he's currently playing the most minutes in his career - unless that's a ploy by Therrien to help Canada by tiring its opponents (he's also using Czech captain Tomas Plekanec a whole lot against the other teams' best forwards, and is not doing much to wake up American Olympian Max Pacioretty, in the midst of a long cold streak)...

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