What do Sheldon Souray, Mark Streit and Marc-Andre Bergeron have in common? All of them have made more money than they're worth thanks to Markov's powerplay wizardry.
>>Eric Engels, for CTV Montreal
I'm amazed people still think this, three years later -- but then Habs followers tend to have a Hab-centric orientation that makes mere mortal fans of 29 other NHL team blush.
We'll get to the production stats -- not just for Streit, but for Bergeron too -- in a second, but first share my bemusement at the paragraph that immediately followed the quoted one above:
Believe it or not, with a potent arsenal that included Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, Alex Tanguay, and eventually Mathieu Schneider, the Canadiens only finished with a 19.2% efficiency rating, which was good enough for 13th place in the league.
I thought you said Markov was a powerplay maestro who made inferior men rich with his wizardry!
Streit at least made bank on his next contract after leaving Montreal, but referencing Bergeron is particularly puzzling. Bergeron's entire career has been based on powerplay production. With six separate NHL teams (including five decidedly not-Markov ones). He has 43 powerplay goals in his career, only seven coming with the Canadiens.
Here's what Bergeron's recent career line looks like:
2006-07: 25 PP points in 78 games (EDM and NYI)
2007-08: 15 PP points in 55 games (NYI and ANA)
2008-09: 18 PP points in 78 games (MIN)
2009-10: 22 PP points in 69 games (MTL)
At least Bergeron cashed in on the mere fragrance of being near Markov though, right? Not exactly.
Bergeron actually made more money ($1.5 million) before going to Montreal, and his first contract after leaving the Canadiens was the first two-way deal of his career, one that paid him a pro-rated $1 million at the NHL level. After producing -- yet again -- on the powerplay for the Lightning last year, he earned a two-year deal ... at $1 million per.
Markov's reach inside the Tampa Bay front office apparently only goes so far.
Or the book on Bergeron has been clear long before, and after, his time with the Habs.
Mark Streit: Like Totally Made by Markov
But that's Bergeron, powerplay specialist. That one's easy. What about Streit, who was a powerplay specialist in Montreal but got paid -- and used -- like an all-around defenseman with the Islanders?
Oh, something about leading his team in scoring with 62 points as the only plus regular (+5) while logging 25 minutes per game for a 30th place team.
But what about 2007-08, when the Habs powerplay was amazing and Streit cashed in -- that was all Markov, right?
2007-08 MTL PP: 24.1% (1st) ... Streit 7-27-34 on the PP in 81 games; Markov with 10-22-32 in 82 games.
The pre-Streit Islanders powerplay ranked 29th in the league that year, at 14.1%
2008-09 Streit-less MTL PP: just 19.2% (13th) (what!?) while Markov's PP production increased to 7-32-39 in 78 games.
2008-09 Islanders PP: Improved to 16.9% (23rd), with Streit putting up 10-19-29 on the PP. Streit's powerplay goals increased, his assists dropped -- hey, I wonder if he didn't have the same weapons to pass to that he had in Montreal? -- and he put up 27 non-PP points just for good measure.
Andrei Markov is a lovely defenseman, but it seems in Montreal that's not enough -- he must be a maker of careers.
Mark Streit is also a lovely defenseman, and thankfully he escaped the canonized shadow of Markov and got a chance to prove it (and babysit a few lesser defensemen in the process).
Maybe a season on the shelf makes people forget, or maybe it all gets lost in the flood of No Habs No idolatry, but three years later, it's shocking the word hasn't gotten out.