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|Markov heads into contract year; 'All I can do is play my game'
19.09.2013. Stubbs, Dave. The Gazette
Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov, in his own words during a one-on-one interview, as he heads into his 13th NHL season:
On this being a contract year, Markov's three-year, $17.25-million pact signed in June 2011 expiring at season's end:
"I will be happy to stay with the Canadiens, but you never know what's going to happen. You can't read the mind of management. All I can do is play my game the best I can. That's all I can say about the situation. Deep in your mind you know it's the last year of your contract, but I don't want to think about that and lose my focus on my game. I'm going to try to take one game at a time and we'll see what happens."
On the possibility of contract talks between his agent, Don Meehan, and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin during the season:
"I'm going to leave that between my agent and the team. It's not my priority. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, or what management thinks about the future or about particular players on the team. All I can do is play my game."
On the possibility of representing Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (Markov has played in 62 international games - the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, finishing fourth and sixth; the world juniors, winning silver and bronze; the II HF World Championship, winning gold and two bronze; and a World Cup):
"I didn't know those numbers, but it's always special to represent your country. It's always special to play in the Olympic Games, and this year it's extra special because they're in Russia. But you never know what will happen tomorrow. You can't be 100-per-cent sure you'll be there. That's the decision of (head coach) Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. It's only happening in February and right now I'm trying to focus on the start of the (NHL) regular season. We'll see what happens."
On fellow Russian defenceman and Canadiens teammate Alexei Emelin, who is rehabbing after surgery from ACL reconstruction, as Markov has done twice:
"I just told him, from my experience, rehab is really important. It's really important to have the right person work with you and spend time with you. That's pretty much all I said to him. He's a quiet guy. I haven't tried to push him or tell him what to do. He's a big man and I think he knows what he's doing. I wish him all the best. He's a quiet guy. Sometimes it's healthy, sometimes it's not. We play a different style, he's more physical than me. I've never had a goal to hit someone as hard as he does, but he's a good skater, he has good vision and he can join the rush. He's a good hockey player."
On adjusting to different defence partners:
"Of course you have to adjust, that's why we have a team system. You also have to communicate with your partner and teammates. If you have a new partner, it doesn't mean you'll be the best pair on the team. But you always try to do your best and the communication is really important."
"I never try to be a different person than who I am. I try not to do something special or extra, crazy stuff. I just try to do my job well and do what I can, what's best for the team and myself. If someone asks me for help or advice, I'm always open and I can talk or suggest something. Sometimes,
for example, in a game situation, if you see some way a teammate can adjust their position, you can tell him. It's communication - you help your teammate and he'll help you the next shift or the next day."
On adjusting to NHL rules that have been tweaked throughout his 12-year career:
"I like new rules. I have no problem with that. In the beginning it's not easy, you have to adjust, it's like a new game. The game has become much faster. Every year the guys are stronger and you're not getting any younger. Every season is a new challenge, for every player, and that's what's exciting."