The Pens appear to have avoided a worst case scenario with Jordan Staal, but it remains unknown if the Montreal Canadiens have similiarly dodged an injury bullet with star defenseman Andrei Markov. Two things are for sure: there isn't much information, but it doesn't look promising.
As Puck Daddy and many other sources have said, Markov has flown back to Montreal. This would be expected after Game 2, but before it?
After the jump, video of Matt Cooke's hit on Markov and what it could mean.
(If you know that fan in the Jiri Slegr jersey, give hugs for me)
It's a clean hit from Cooke, believe it or not. Players finish checks in the playoffs and that's hockey. What's odd is Markov sees Cooke coming, appears to set himself in a position to absorb the hit and brace himself but still his leg ended up buckling, unfortunately.
Should Markov miss time, this will drastically affect Montreal's strategy. They usually dress 11 forwards and 7 defenseman, with Marc-Andre Beregron being somewhat of a swingman and power play specialist that rarely plays D at even strength. Also Jacques Martin has decided to use Hal Gill and Josh Gorges against Sidney Crosby whenever possible, leaving Markov for Evgeni Malkin. This means Roman Hamrlik, Ryan O'Byrne and perhaps even youngster P.K. Subban will see more minutes against Malkin.
Veteran defenseman Jaroslav Spacek remains "ill" and has already been ruled out for participation in Game 2, with no real clues about his future.
The Habs, like every NHL team, probably won't disclose too much information about Markov, so we'll have to wait and see when his return to the lineup will be possible. His absence will be notable.