Montréal Canadiens. His savant, instinctive style of play and deft, unbelievable through-3-opponents diagonal passes have made the team's powerplay a force to be reckoned with and a top-5 threat in the league for years. Well, until Carey Price slit his tendon - accidentally, of course - prompting a 2-season streak of freak injuries to occur, and the powerplay to become a joke.
His importance to the team is such that I would have chosen him as team captain after Saku Koivu's departure. He was the best player, he had the longest tenure on the roster, and was coming out of his shell, a long way from the shy introvert of seasons past. He had even shown leadership skills by contesting calls from referees on the ice, and coming into contact with one, and taken to face the press every night.
It would also have been fitting, for such a storied team who played USSR All-Star teams on several occasions to name its first official Russian captain during the Centennial season (Alex Kovalev served as replacement captain in the past few seasons when Koivu went down to injuries).
Speaking of the Centennial, this card from Upper Deck's amazing 2009-10 Artifacts set (card #88) shows Markov wearing the team's home (red) uniform with both commemorative patches on the shoulders: the ''100'' logo on the right shoulder, and the All Star Game logo on the left.
With GM Pierre Gauthier gone, I no longer fear Markov will be traded (he's traded away most of my favourite players except Markov, Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban) and am confident we'll have a terrific season next year.