SUN Hockey Pool

Markov will return from Russia: Agent

Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens practises March 19, 2012. (PIERRE-PAUL POULIN/QMI Agency)

Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens practises March 19, 2012. (PIERRE-PAUL POULIN/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:26 AM ET

Despite rumblings to the contrary, defenceman Andrei Markov will not remain in Russia when the lockout is over, his agent says.

The rumour about Markov not returning to the Montreal Canadiens is false, agent Don Meehan told TVA Sports on Thursday.

Markov, who is playing in the KHL, said in an interview in Russia this week he would make a decision "in due course" about a return to the NHL. The 33-year-old said it was a difficult decision to make.

The native of Russia had three assists in 13 games with the Canadiens at the end of the 2011-2012 after recovering from surgery on his right knee.

He signed Oct. 3 to play with Vityaz Chekov during the NHL work stoppage.

BACKSTROM JOINS BUDDY OVECHKIN

Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom will join teammate Alexander Ovechkin with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.

"I want to play hockey and it will be a good challenge," Backstrom told Swedish media outlet SVT Sports.

Backstrom, a native of Sweden, had been working out with teammates in Washington, all along being urged by his friend Ovechkin to join the KHL during the lockout.

"Ovechkin has been calling since he went to Moscow," Backstrom told SVT Sport. "It'll be fun. I'm leaving today."

The 24-year-old centre had 14 goals and 30 assists in 42 games with the Capitals last season.

BRIEFLY

Unless the NHL season is cancelled, Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty has no plans to return to Switzerland after being granted a release. Pacioretty had one goal and no assists in five games with Ambri Priotta of the Swiss league and was scratched from several games, partly because of the flu. His agent told TVA Sports the 23-year-old would follow a workout program in Connecticut and Montreal ... If a labour settlement is reached in time, the Florida Panthers will play their home opener Nov. 3. And if you buy three tickets to Florida games this season, you'll get a freebie to the opener. It's part of the Panthers' new ticket initiative -- you have to admire their optimism.


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