Markov’s Cana­di­ens run is over

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

MON­TREAL — Vet­eran de­fence­man An­drei Markov’s 16-sea­son ten­ure with the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens is over.

The team an­nounced Thurs­day that Markov, an un­re­stricted free agent, will not re­turn next sea­son to his only Na­tional Hockey League team. Markov later told re­porters he will play in Rus­sia’s Kon­ti­nen­tal Hockey League, open­ing the door for him to rep­re­sent his coun­try at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Cana­di­ens thanked him and wished him good luck on Twit­ter. Team owner Ge­off Mol­son also tweeted his re­gards to the 38-year-old.

“Ar­guably one of the best de­fence­men in fran­chise his­tory, An­drei was a model of ded­i­ca­tion to the great game of hockey,” said Mol­son. “A re­spected fig­ure around the league and among his team­mates, An­drei demon­strated lead­er­ship both on and off the ice.

“An­drei’s com­mit­ment to our fran­chise was sec­ond to none, proven by his overcoming three se­ri­ous and po­ten­tially ca­reer-end­ing in­juries. I would like to wish An­drei the best of luck in the next step of his ca­reer, and hap­pi­ness with his fam­ily.”

Markov played 990 reg­u­lar sea­son games, sixth most among Cana­di­ens de­fence­men.

His 199 goals are third-most by a Mon­treal rear­guard and his 572 points tie him with Guy La­pointe for sec­ond in team his­tory. He added five goals and 27 as­sists in 89 play­off games.

Mon­treal drafted the Rus­sian 162nd over­all in 1998 and he made his NHL de­but two years later.

The Cana­di­ens sig­nalled Markov’s de­par­ture this week with the sign­ing of 39-year-old free agent de­fence­man Mark Streit.

Markov earned an av­er­age of US$5.75 mil­lion in each of his last 10 sea­sons on three sep­a­rate con­tracts. This time, it is not known if the two sides couldn’t agree on money or the length of a new deal, or both.

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