View Single Post
12-23-2003, 11:29 AM
A soupçon of nutmeg
Souffle's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Le Creuset
Country: France
Posts: 3,431
vCash: 500
Originally Posted by puskarm
Greetings. I was wondering what the scoop is on Andre Markov. Is he the Habs future #1 defenseman? Do you expect him to be quarterbacking the #1 PP in the future and is he a future all-star? The few times I've seen him play, he looked pretty good.

And what's the book on Jan Bulis? From what I've seen he hustles and skates very well, but his point production this year is disappointing. Does he have a future on the top two lines in Montreal, or is he more realistically a 3rd line energy type player?

Well, Markov is a converted centreman who is immensely talented at reading the play and joining the rush. Of course, he sometimes takes bad chances. The Habs have been patient, and he stepped out last year as a good puck moving defenceman, but more importantly developed a steady defensive game. Not very physical, he can be very quick with his stick and anticipates well, particularly on the pinch. He is at his best in the defensive zone when he uses his anticipation to play a sound positional game.

Probably the major problem with Markov is that he is rumoured to be a bit moody. Communication problems with the Vigneault and, briefly, the Therrien coaching staffs caused him to spend some time in the minors. Last year, his break out year, Oleg Petrov was immeasurably responsible for putting him at ease and smoothing the overall transition to the NA game and lifestyle. It certainly seems that way this year, as he has appeared tentative and unsure of himself.

The communication/Petrov theory might be exaggerated somewhat. Markov missed most of training camp with an injury, and is often the case, his play has showed the effects. He has struggled a little with his timing, which is the single greatest aspect of his game, both offensive and defensive.

His confidence obviously fragile, playing with three different partners hasn't helped, especially watching Bouillon eating some of the minutes that he would normally play. As well, he hasn't seen much power play time with the emergence of Souray and the so far successful experiment of playing Koivu on the point.

But recently he has been making the laser-beam passes that can create chances out of nothing. He seems to have found a little bit of chemsitry with Dagenais of all people. Still too early to tell, it's at least a good sign.

I think Markov would thrive with a veteran Russian presence in the lineup or coaching staff. But again, this might be an exaggerated theory. Having missed nearly all of training camp, it might only be a case of taking the first third of the season to find his groove. He will be a top defenceman, and he will be a PP threat, but he might lack the size and leadership to be a number one guy.

With Bulis, it depends who you ask. It seems that a slight majority of posters here feel that he is at most a talented 3rd liner. I think that he has the skills and talent to be a scoring line winger, but he clearly lacks the mentality of a consistent scorer.

When he was acquired along with Zednik in the Linden and Zubrus trade, he was believed to have a greater upside than Zednik, and was groomed as the Habs 2nd line center of the future. After an impressive training camp a few years ago, he slumped through the beginning of the season and lost his confidence. At one point, under Therrien, he was the odd-man out and he contemplated asking for a trade.

Then injuries hit, and he worked his way into the line-up alongside Juneau and Dackell. Playing on this line probably saved his career. Without the pressure of having to score and carry an offensive load, he developed a very strong defensive game, which enabled him to play in any situation without being a liability.

He clearly has the skills to be a scoring winger. He has better moves than Zednik, for instance, and is probably the fastest skater on the Habs. But he has trouble finishing -- the puck has a tendency to hit the post or roll off his stick at the last second. I think he should continue to play on the top two lines. If he learned defence from Juneau and Dackell and gained the confidence to play in any situation, he should be given a long chance to find his offensive game alongside either Koivu or Ribeiro. At the very least, he will give these lines a defensive conscience and a breakaway threat.

I think he can be a solid 60 point scoring winger, as he is still experimenting with his offensive imagination. But at the worst he will be an over-talented 3rd line player.

Souffle is offline