Andrei Markov is maybe the single most important guy on the Montreal Canadiens in terms of what he brings.
He is absolutely indispensable. He has four straight seasons of 45 or more points including 64 points last year. His 52 assists led the NHL amongst defenceman in that regard.
The Canadiens are a team that tried to weather the loss of Sheldon Souray; they had Mark Streit, who was able to step up and fill in on the power play.
Then Streit left and they didn't even really replace him. Markov had seven of his 12 goals on the powerplay last year but they still didn't have that kind of presence on the point. But to lose their most mobile puck handler, their best offensive defenceman and a guy who arguably could be their best defensive defenceman at times, I don't know how you fix that.
And can you go out and make a trade?
Not very easily.
It just makes Carey Price all that much more important. I'm sure Canadiens fans went into Thursday's season opener checking to see how Price was going to venture after the meltdown of a season that he had last year, but Price was outstanding.
He was the difference in the hockey game and gave the Habs a chance to get it to overtime, to win it in overtime. He was spectacular. That bodes well for Price and that bodes well for Montreal. It's just one game, mind you, but imagine the furor and the panic in the streets of Montreal if Markov was injured and Price had a poor performance in the season opener.
With the absence of Markov, Price will now be that much more of a factor for the Canadiens.