Golf Hockey Master's NHL

E.L.M.M : A Championship or 7, the Green Jacket and the Andrei Markov Affect

What a weekend for sports! A delayed Master’s Championship that was rescheduled to November and a historic victory in Formula 1 (F1) set the stage for a great Sunday. Despite the NHL, NBA and MLB all wrapping up their season and crowning their 2020 champions, the delay in the sports calendar caused by COVID is bringing about a second wave of championships. The expanded 4:00 pm starts in the NFL was the cherry on top, but let’s get back to the winners for a moment.

Before we jump into Andrei Markov, a guy I have long looked for any excuse to write about, I want to first mention a historic event that took place in F1 this weekend. With his win at the Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton won his seventh F1 title, tying him with the legendary Michael Schumacher. This was Hamilton’s sixth F1 title in row as he has dominated the sport for the better part of the last decade.

Canadian Lance Stroll started in Pole position and dominated early on before falling apart late in the race. The slick conditions forced him to make a second pit stop to change his tires which ultimately cost him the race. Hamilton managed to finish the race without needing a second pit, leading him to victory and history.

Speaking of Champions, Canada’s unofficial son-in-law took home the Master’s, winning his first Green Jacket. Johnson came in with a four stroke lead, but got himself into some trouble early. After landing in the sand off the first tee, Johnson topped his second shot on 2 before sending a lob shot into the sand again. Back-to-back bogeys on 4 and 5 had all the haters talking about another possible choke job. DJ managed to compose himself and play bogey free golf the rest of the way, hitting par or birdie (five total) on the remaining 13 holes.

Now for the moment I have been waiting for, the General, the one and only Andrei Markov!

This week on our Weekly Sauce episode, Terry and Alex the Intern sat down with Andrew Zadarnowski from Habs Eye on the Prize. The guys discussed the Habs, specifically their ‘5 year Plan’, looking at the moves made by Bergevin this off-season along with the Habs prospects in the pipeline. One small detail that I noticed was when Andrew mentioned that the state of the current Habs defense and compared it to when Markov led the D-core. I truly believe that Markov should be added to the Ring of Honour as the lone bright spot on this roster during the dark ages. Before completely dismissing me, let me first make my case and explain the Markov Affect.

Markov’d (verb): To play along side Andrei Markov while simultaneously having a career season, leading to a giant contractual pay day.

What do Sheldon Souray, Mark Streit, Mike Komisarek and PK Subban all have in common? They were all Markov’d; yes that’s right I made it a verb. Let’s start back at the beginning with Markov’s first student, Sheldon Souray.

Souray came to the Habs in a trade from the Devils, scoring double digit points just once in his young career. Following Wrist surgery that took away his entire 2002-03 season, Souray came back to the team, and slotted next to Markov. The next three season would define Souray’s career with three successive career years in a row. His point totals jumped from 11 to 35 to 39 and finally to 64 with these three seasons accounting for nearly a third of Souray’s total points in his 13 year career. Souray’s career high in goals came during his 64 point ’06-’07 campaign, after which he became a Free Agent.

His next contract? 5 year / $27M, $5.4M Annual Average Value. This equates to a $8.75M AAV in today’s NHL…… Markov’d.
(All Contracts Source: capfriendly.com)

Next up, Mark Streit, another incredible late round find for the Habs (9th round in 2004). Streit would have likely found his way without Markov, however, his career season? 62 points in the 2007-08 season, the season that Souray left for Edmonton. This career high in points was a massive increase from the 36 points that Streit put up the year before. I will say that in Streit’s case, he did go on to Captain the Islanders and serve as an Assistant Captain for the Flyers, but the fact remains his career year was next to Markov.

Just like Souray, Streit’s career year happened during a contract year, the result? 5 year / $20.5 ($4.1M AAV) which carries a $5.89M AAV in today’s market. A significant increase from the $600K AAV he earned in Montreal

Markov’d.

Next up is the Poster boy for the Markov Affect, Mike Komisarek. A seventh overall pick by the Canadiens in 2001 (a draft that was saved with the Pleky selection in the third round), Komisarek came to the Habs as a highly touted prospect out of the University of Michigan. He wasn’t known for his offensive skill, more so as a very strong, mean, hard hitting defenseman. Back when guys like Scott Stevens, Chris Pronger and Darian Hatcher were highly sought after talent, Komisarek was expected to be the next coming of this type of defenseman.

This changed after back to back near career season where he put up nearly 20 points and looked to be on the cusp of breaking out offensively. While guys like Souray and Streit benefited primarily from playing alongside Markov on the Power Play, Komisarek made his name by playing beside Markov at Even Strength. The “Komi” hyped reached it’s pinnacle at the 2009 All Star game, which was a contract year. Of course this was the result of a fanbase-led vote in system, but this seem to be the first domino to fall in the eventual Komisarek departure.

Arch-nemesis and division rival, Toronto Maple Leafs played the fools here, signing Komisarek to a 5 year / $21.5M contract ($6.17M AAV in 2020). In his time as a Leaf, Komisarek only managed 19 points during his career in Toronto that spanned a little more than three season before being bought out.

This matched his career high in a season with Montreal…… Markov’d.

The last name to mention here is PK Subban. You would have to live under a rock in Montreal to not know about PK and his very public time with the Habs. Despite having a lot of time left in his career to surpass his current careers highs (set while playing with the Habs), he too greatly benefited from Markov as a partner. First and foremost, PK’s only Norris trophy win came while playing next to Markov in a lockout shortened 2012-13 season. His 38 points in 42 games is by far Subban’s highest Point Per Game season which would have put him around 74 points in a full season.

It’s hard to argue against a Norris Trophy season as a career season, but point totals wise, PK’s career highs in assists (45) and points (60) were also along side Markov in 2014-15. Was this a contract year? No, actually quite the opposite as it was the first year of Subban’s monstrous extension. This extension was to the tune of 8 year / $72M contract (a quick $10.6M with today’s cap). To PK’s credit, he is always the first person to praise Markov.

You can argue against this one if you want, but for the time being…….Markov’d.

The General was a special breed of defenseman. We haven’t even gotten into his shut down skills as a top pairing player. It’s a shame that injuries took away some of his prime years. I wish that Markov was able to play 10 more games in the NHL to get 1000 with the Habs. In an era where Habs fans were often left searching for question, Markov was the team’s pillar. Thankfully Bergevin acquired a new pillar to allow Markov to pass the torch.

Don’t forget to check out the aforementioned interview on Weekly Sauce with Alex the Intern, Terry and Andrew Zadarnowski to hear all things Habs, hockey and more! If you’re Football Parlay was ruined by the Cardinals taking a knee, we got you covered as well! Tune in to this weeks upcoming episode of the Podcast as Peeze, Terry and Eagle sit down with Brandon Keiller and Andrew Pace from inplayLIVE to discuss a different angle to Sports Gambling

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