Markov's golden opportunity

Friday, 11.05.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal Canadiens
Habs defenseman gunning for gold at World Hockey Championship

Andrei Markov has played for Russia at every level.

MONTREAL - Two wins are all that's separating Andrei Markov from making his golden wish come true at the 2007 World Hockey Championship.

Of the five Canadiens to make the trek over to the World Championship in Moscow, hometown boy Andrei Markov is the only one still standing. The Habs' defenseman will now face Finland in the semi-final, while Tomas Plekanec, Jaroslav Halak, Mark Streit and David Aebischer were all bounced in the quarterfinals.

Markov is looking to climb onto the podium at this event for only the second time, having won bronze in 2004 after finishing 11th in St-Petersburg in 2000 and fifth in Norway in 1999.

Now making his fourth appearance at the Worlds, Markov has emerged as the anchor of the Russian blue line, earning major ice-time from head coach Vyacheslav Bykov. On his way to leading Russia to a perfect 7-0 mark, Markov leads all defensemen with three goals while adding five assists for eight points.

Only former Penguins rearguard Dick Tarnstrom of Sweden boasts more points with nine. Markov is also getting the job done at both ends of the ice with a plus-five rating.

Golden Boys
Only four Canadiens players have ever brought home gold medals from the World Hockey Championship.
2003 Craig Rivet Canada
2001 Martin Rucinsky Czech Republic
1999 Martin Rucinsky Czech Republic
1997 Mark Recchi Canada

Should he end up atop the podium on Sunday, Markov will join a select group of only four Habs to have brought home World Championship gold.

Markov's former defense partner Craig Rivet was the last Canadiens player to turn the trick, winning gold back in 2003. Also on that Canadian squad that needed overtime to down Sweden in the final was future teammate Mathieu Dandenault.

Joining Rivet as the only other Habs representatives to win gold are Martin Rucinsky (1999 and 2001) and Mark Recchi (1997).

Will Markov be next? Stay tuned on Sunday to find out.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com