Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Is Andrei Markov able to act as a mentor to the Canadiens young defencemen?

About Andrei Markov's ability to mentor P.K. and the younger defencemen, there is some debate online about whether Andrei has the mentality of a mentor.  He's a bit aloof, curt, sarcastic sometimes in his public persona.

I think there are different ways of looking at this.  We tend to think of mentors as cuddly fostering types, who'll be a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on, but there are different approaches to this.  We've all had bosses, coaches, parental units, people in a position of authority in one way or another, who were tough, blunt, demanding, and forced us to do our best, raise our game, to perform and produce.

There are mentors out there who are prickly, aren't into the group hugs, will call you out on your B.S. when you're trying to get away with something, but who you'll look back on fondly, as someone who had a big, positive influence on your life.  I have a couple of teachers in mind, and an acidic, loud boss who would would see through me when I was trying to coast.

When P.K. came back from his holdout last season, after the lockout, Andrei and P.K. were partnered, and it was clear who was the boss on that pairing, and who was the pupil.  Andrei did all the talking, P.K. would mostly be silent and nod in the affirmative, to his everlasting credit.

Fast forward to this season.  P.K. had earned his stripes, more credibility, and in these pre-faceoff conversation, or on the bench, it was much more of a two-way conversation, with both players talking and pointing and agreeing on a course of action.  Andrei was still the boss, by all appearances, but P.K. could now participate instead of obeying.

My take is that Andrei won't be the cuddly veteran like Francis Bouillon or Jaroslav Spacek, but his experience, his on-ice decision-making, his work ethic, these would serve our young defencemen very well, as a template to copy, and he'll be able to play an active role in developing the rookies as the veteran leader of the blueline corps.

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