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Nov 16, 2012 8:25pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

MONTREAL —Andrei Markov is smiling again. Joe
Greene Jersey
. The Montreal Canadiens top defenceman was back
skating with his teammates Tuesday. Even though he was wearing a non-contact
jersey, his return to practice suggests hell likely be back playing games before
long. “I feel good. Its fun. Finally, Im doing something different,” he said.
Markov has not played since he tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral
ligaments nearly a year ago in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He had
played only seven games since returning from similar surgery on the same knee.
Now the premier power-play point man needs to test it on the ice and get the
knee re-examined by doctors before he can be cleared for full-contact practice,
the last step before playing in a game. He recently returned from a three-week
stint in Florida for testing with his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Markov laughed
when asked repeatedly when he expects to play, answering each time with, “No
idea,” or “Next question.” Coach Jacques Martin could not say for sure when he
will return, but to see him skating drills with his teammates was encouraging
for a team hit by injuries on defence and struggling on the power play. “Hes a
big part of our team, our power play, our everything,” said goaltender
Carey Price. The Canadiens gave Markov a three-year contract with an annual cap
hit of US$5.75 million last June. However, an apparent setback in rehab delayed
his return. “I wasnt happy with my progress, to be honest with you, but at the
same time I realize that was my second surgery,” said Markov. “Believe me, it
wasnt easy and its still not. “I prefer to play than to practise by myself. I
dont have any particular time to be back. Im happy right now with my progress
and Im happy to skate with the team. Well see.” Not at practice were veteran
defencemen Hal Gill, who is sick, and Jaroslav Spacek, who has an undisclosed
injury. The team called up defenceman Frederic St-Denis from AHL Hamilton, which
suggests that one or both wont be ready for a home game Wednesday night against
the Carolina Hurricanes. Gill missed a 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres
on Monday night, when the Canadiens blew a 2-0 lead in the third period. Spacek
was injured in the second period, leaving the defence with one veteran,
Josh Gorges, as well as first or second-year rearguards P.K. Subban,
Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin and Yannick Weber. “I think we have a good group of
young talented guys right now,” said Markov. “We have a few injuries and for
them its good to have that experience. Its going to help our team in the
future.” It would help more having Markov, especially back on his usual spot on
the left point. The Canadiens had one of the best power plays in the NHL when he
was healthy, but they are currently 26th in the 30-team league with eight goals
on 65 chances for a 12.3 per cent success rate. They have also surrendered a
league-high four shorthanded goals. Winger Michael Cammalleri was back at
practice after missing Mondays game with a lower-body injury. A decision will be
made Wednesday on whether he can play, but the fact that he took part in a full
practice suggests he will. Forward Andrei Kostitsyn remains sidelined with an
undisclosed injury. Martin said he is not expected back this week. It will be
the first meeting this season between Montreal (7-7-3) and Carolina (6-9-3), so
it will be a big game for Erik Cole, a former Hurricane who signed with the
Canadiens in the off-season. When the deal was made, some suggested Cole would
struggle without centre Eric Staal, but so far they each have four goals and
four assists in 17 games. That represents a major drop in production for Staal,
however, who is also a nasty minus-17. “You cant hang all that on Eric,” said
Cole. “I havent seen a good chunk of their games. but hes a guy who puts a lot
of pressure on himself. “He pushes himself very hard. Sometimes early in the
year, he presses maybe a little too much to be the guy. If I were a Carolina
fan, I wouldnt worry as to whether hes going to turn things around and have a
better finish.” The Hurricanes are 3-7-1 in their last 11 games. Montreal is
6-2-1 in its last nine. Casey Hampton Jersey . The team also came to
terms with the other seven members of its 2012 draft class, an unusual move
given that a teams draft picks are usually signed over time in the weeks
following the draft. The terms of the deals announced Monday were not released.
Heath Miller Womens Jersey . Italy coach
Cesare Prandelli says he wishes the 21-year-old forward well, “but he needs to
improve and this is a change I have to make.” Balotelli wasted several chances
in the first half of Italys 1-1 draw with Croatia on Thursday, appearing
hesitant in front of goal. http://www.steelersroom.com/antonio-brown-jersey
. —Kyle Drabek made a strong impression on the opposing manager. Ziggy Hood Jersey . Brule has been with the
Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City this season where hes amassed eight goals
and 18 points in 27 games. Emmanuel Sanders Jersey . The Grimsby, Ont.,
native stands alone as Canadas most decorated Olympic womens wrestler after
capturing her first silver at Athens 2004 and a bronze at Beijing 2008. “I
promised going into the Olympics I would give everything and the result would
take care of itself,” Verbeek said.PITTSBURGH—Kordell Stewarts phone stopped
ringing with offers from NFL teams years ago. Still, Stewart never officially
retired. Not even after landing on his feet by getting a football analyst gig at
ESPN in 2008. When his father died in March of last year, Stewart knew he needed
to get some closure in parts of his life, football being among them. Though
Stewart spent his last two seasons with Baltimore in 2004-05, filing his
retirement papers while wearing purple-and-black just didnt feel right. Stewart
wanted to come home to Pittsburgh, where he became a sensation in the late-1990s
as “Slash” Stewart, part-time quarterback, part-time running back, part-time
wide receiver, full-time excitement. “This where it all started, this where all
my success was,” Stewart said on Wednesday just before signing a one-day
contract so he could retire as a member of the Steelers. “This was the closure I
wanted to have and needed to have with my career.” The 39-year-old Stewart
played his first eight seasons in Pittsburgh, making a splash as “Slash” in 1996
while helping the team to the Super Bowl before beginning an enigmatic career at
quarterback. He made the Pro Bowl in 2001 after leading Pittsburgh to a 13-3
record but never really recovered after getting injured at the start of the 2002
season. Stewart became a touchstone in football-crazy Pittsburgh. For every fan
who marveled at his athletic brilliance, another bristled at his inconsistent
play. There were death threats—not of which he took seriously—and boos.
There were also raucous celebrations and a solid record of 46-29 as a starter in
the Steel City. “It was an ebb-and-flow type career that I had,” Stewart said,
“one where I had tons of highs and tons of lows. Im at the point if you
understand anything in life thats what you will have.” The Steelers drafted
Stewart in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft after a spectacular career at
Colorado, where hes best remembered for his thrilling last-second heave to
Michael Westbrook that lifted the Buffaloes to an unlikely victory at Michigan.
He impressed teams with his arm strength—the pass to Westbrook travelled 75
yards in the air—though the Steelers saw something more. LaMarr Woodley Jersey. When a rash of
injuries left the team decimated at several positions during his rookie year in
1995, Stewart went to coach Bill Cowher and volunteered to carry a heavier
workload. The league didnt know what hit it. Stewart blossomed into a dynamic
playmaker who was a threat whenever the ball was in his hands. Stewart caught a
touchdown pass in the AFC championship game that year against Indianapolis
before getting shut down by Dallas in the Super Bowl loss. His numbers were even
better in 1996—171 rushing yards, 329 receiving yards and eight combined
touchdowns—before the team turned to Stewart to replace Neil ODonnell in
1997. A series of up-and-down years followed. He led the Steelers to the AFC
championship game in 1997 before enduring three mediocre seasons in which he
struggled to stay healthy. Stewart hung tough—“got my oil up” as he put it—
and in 2001 put together a career year, passing for 3,109 yards and tossing 14
touchdowns as the Steelers went 13-3. It came to a screeching halt in the AFC
championship against New England. Stewart threw three interceptions and the
Steelers fell 24-17. Things were never the same. He was injured early in 2002
and ended up losing his starting job to journeyman Tommy Maddox. Stewart moved
on to Chicago in 2003 hoping to revive his career. It didnt happen. He went 2-5
as a starter before landing in Baltimore, where he never threw a pass as a
backup in 2004-05. He stayed in shape waiting for a call that never came. In the
end he decided to give Steelers owner Art Rooney II a ring asking for the chance
to file his retirement papers. His career has been over for nearly a decade. Now
Stewart knows he can move on. He joked he could “maybe” take a snap or two
during the camps organized team activities, but with his 40th birthday less than
five months away, he knows he belongs in the TV booth instead of on the field.
“Being here in this city, a lot of great things happened,” Stewart said. “All
the other stuff was just a part of the game.” ’ ’ ’ 

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