Could this be the week?
Andrei Markov, who hasn't played in a little over 12 months, was taking a regular shift with fellow Russian Alexei Emelin at practice Monday, and also found himself lining up on the top power-play unit with P.K. Subban on the right point.
Coach Jacques Martin wouldn't confirm that Markov will be coming back on Wednesday in Anaheim, but past practice indicates that the team prefers to ease the 32-year-old into action on the road so draw your own conclusions.
"I don't know if Wednesday is going to be the day, but we're getting closer," Martin said.
Subban, for one, can't wait to see the stylish Markov back in uniform.
"He sees the ice so well it makes it easier for everyone," he said.
Whether Markov plays or not on the Habs' California swing (they also play San Jose and Los Angeles) is one question, the other is whether top goal scorer Max Pacioretty will miss one or more games after his telephone audience with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan in light of his hit on Pittsburgh defenceman Kristopher Letang, who according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wasn't on the ice for practice Monday.
The other main talking point in the Habs room was the imminent appointment of former Habs assistant Kirk Muller as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
"I'm happy for Kirky to get that opportunity, we had some good times here . . . he's an emotional guy who coached a lot like played," said Michael Cammalleri. "It seemed when he left here the next step was head coaching."