Oct 19, 2012, 11:17 AM EDT
Last week, Andrei Markov drew the ire of Canadiens fans when — in an interview with a pair of Sovietsky Sport journalists — he said he wasn’t sure if he’d leave his KHL club, Vityaz Chekhov, to rejoin the NHL once the lockout ends.
This week, he clarified his stance.
“My priority is to play in the NHL, to come back to Montreal,” he told the Montreal Gazette on Thursday. “This isn’t just about me. All players want a fair (CBA) agreement, right?
“If that happens, I’ll be in Montreal.”
The firestorm began when RDS’ Hockey 360 aired a snippet of Markov’s interview with Sovietsky’s Genadi Boguslavsky and Pavel Lysenkov.
Markov, playing during the NHL lockout with Vityaz Chekhov of the Kontinental Hockey League, chatted in English with the two writers for the RDS item. Boguslavsky asked the 33-year-old rearguard what he thought of the comments of some KHL players that a few NHLers had considered remaining in the Russian league upon the lockout’s end.
“That’s a difficult question,” Markov replied. “I think every player in the NHL just wants a fair agreement. I can’t say right now if I’m staying or going back in the NHL, but I’ll see when the time comes and then I’m going to make a decision.”
Talk of Russian players sticking in the KHL post-lockout has been prevalent throughout the last 34 days.
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