Here’s how I imagined it happened…..
Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier aka The Ghost was sitting in the dark in his Los Angeles hotel room just wishing the pounding would stop. But it didn’t. It just kept getting louder and louder. Fearing that the door might collapse, Gauthier made a run for the window. He had one leg out the window, half way to the balcony, when the door burst off its hinges and in jumped Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin.
‘C’mon Pierre, we need to talk,” shouted Martin, who appeared to be in an usually chatty mood.
Gauthier reluctantly came back into the room and listened as Martin said he simply couldn’t take the incessant questions about Andrei Markov any more. The day before, in San Jose, The Man Who Would Be Marcel Marceau caused quite a stir when he told the ink-stained wretches he wasn’t 100-percent sure what the mysterious Russian defenceman was up to.
Gauthier finally agreed the time had come for drastic action. He opened the bed-side drawer, brought out a strange metal box, reached his hand in and picked up the special red cell-phone and hit ‘1’ on the speed-dial.
‘Hey Bob, what do we do now?” he whispered nervously.
Okay so that didn’t really happen. Or at least I don’t know that it happened. But you get the idea right?
It’s full-on panic at the Canadian corral. This summer, Gauthier signed Markov to a $17.25 million, three-year contract and basically his whole strategy this year is based around the return of this A-list D-man, who was supposed to provide solid defence, deliver those brilliant first passes up to the forwards and quarterback the power-play on the blue-line.
But most anyone could’ve told Gauthier that it might not be the best of ideas to construct an entire team – and season – around a guy who may or may not ever play, and might never play at the level he used to play. That’s ’cause Markov is coming off two straight serious knee injuries and has only played 52 games over the past three seasons.
On Saturday, Gauthier announced that Markov was set to be operated on again and he tried to put an upbeat spin on this not-at-all positive news.
Here’s what Gauthier said when forced to come out of hiding to face the media in Los Angeles.
“Despite his progress, the team asked him to see a doctor here in Los Angeles at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic. After reviewing the situation with Dr. Andrews, and Dr. Mulder and all the people who’ve been following his progress, and with the support of Mr. Markov, the decision has been taken that he have arthroscopic knee surgery this week, in the next few days, to clean up possibly some scar tissue, but mostly some debris that has been left there, and has been causing a lot of inflammation. There was swelling and a lot of discomfort and tightness in the knee, and in everyone’s opnion including Mr. Markov’s, it’s best that we clean this up.”
Gauthier then moved into full (far from convincing) damage-control mode.
“I know this is disappointing for us and disappointing for Mr. Markov and disappointing for the fans, but there is, in the middle of this, quite a bit of good news. The structure of his knee is intact and has been tested, and the strength of the leg is excellent. Mr. Markov is in great shape and those who those who saw him practice can attest to that.”
In other words, there’s absolutely no chance Markov will take to the ice to help the Canadiens in 2011 and let’s face it, when he comes back – if he comes back! – it’s gonna take him some serious time to get back up to NHL speed. And meanwhile the playoff clock will be ticking…..
Come to think of it, can you really blame Gauthier for trying to escape out the hotel window and make a run for it?