Andrei Markov’s consulting physician has described damage to the Hab's right knee as “disturbing”.
The Canadiens’ All-Star defenseman went down in a heap against the boards after colliding with Carolina Hurricane forward Eric Staal during a game at the Bell Centre on November 13th. At this time it’s unclear how long Markov will be out of action.
It was originally thought that knee-on-knee contact plus an awkward tumble into the boards caused possible ligament damage to Markov’s right knee, which had been surgically repaired in the spring after a hit during a game in Pittsburgh forced him to miss the remainder of the playoffs, plus training camp and the first 10 games of this season. However, a preliminary examination of the leg appears to show damage inconsistent with the play. Earlier this week Markov travelled to the Cleveland Clinic to meet with Dr. Anthony Minachi, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon.
“On first sight, it looks like the knee area in question contains a form of blunt-force trauma that one wouldn’t expect to see with this type of injury”, explained Dr. Minachi. “We still have to wait for some swelling to subside before we can get inside to take a closer look at it, but my opinion at this stage is that any possible ligament damage would be secondary in nature.”
Dr. Minachi went on to say that at the time of the examination he collected what he called 'forensic evidence' at the request of the Canadiens when it became apparent that the damage to the knee was worse than originally feared.
Further raising suspicion about the injury is a conversation that a local bartender is said to have had with several members of the Canadiens, including goaltender Carey Price.
“He (Price) said that he’s happy that Markov is injured,” recounted Marie Deslauriers, an employee of Chez Suzie in Montreal’s west end. “He talked about Markov having an ‘accident’ which would open up more playing time for his friend P.K. Subban, but also wanting to distance himself from the situation because certain people were already suspicious of him for cutting Markov’s foot with his skate at the beginning of last season. He said he’s confident that he got away with that one, but he doesn’t want to take any more chances.”
Ms. Deslauriers added, “I also remember Price saying something along the lines of, ‘that Canadian wannabe is holding down the team’, ‘we’re winning without him, anyway’ and ‘that’ll teach him for call me out… prick.’
"Frankly, I couldn't believe what he was saying to me. For a cowboy, he sure can’t hold his liquor.”
A photo taken at the time of the Markov injury appears to add further fuel to the fire. Three gentlemen sitting on the rail where the injured defenseman hit the boards have tentatively been identified as Jeff Gillooly, Shawn Eckhardt, and one Shane Stant. The three gained notoriety in 1994 when they were charged and convicted in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, which was masterminded by skating rival Tonya Harding and her ex-husband Gillooly.
|Three poor guys take in the action from primo seats|
When asked about the three men, Mr. Simon Hammond, whose seasons tickets are located directly behind where the men were seated, said, "I told my wife that something wasn't right. Those seats are usually occupied by three young ladies that leave part way through the third period to get to work on time. These guys couldn't even afford a Molson between them. My wife said not to worry about the beer... that they had probably spent all of their money on the tickets. I knew something was up when they just mumbled their way incoherently through the french part of Oh Canada."
Pressed for more information about the men, Mr. Hammond noted that one was wearing a "Tonya 4 Life t-shirt, whatever that means."
Hammond went on to say that during stoppages in play, Price would, as usual, skate over to their corner, but that he found it odd that a rich, successful Canadian goaltender would be nodding and winking at three poor Americans.
It’s unclear whether or not Price has any connection with the men, or if the presence of three penniless, convicted felons occupying the most expensive and exclusive seats in the Bell Centre is simply a coincidence.