Andrei Markov

Markov clarifies KHL statement: “My priority is to play in the NHL, to come back to Montreal”

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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.

From the Gazette:

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.

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has already spouted off about the potential of some Russian players remaining in the KHL after the work stoppage ends.

Alex Ovechkin said he’d stay in the KHL if the NHL cut salaries.

Ilya Kovalchuk said he’d be “delighted” to play in the KHL all season. “I really don’t care, the main thing for me is hockey,” he told RIA Novosti.

Most recently, Henrik Zetterberg told he knew “for a fact Russians will probably stay” in the KHL post-lockout.

Quick on save percentage: ‘Those numbers don’t mean nothing’

Jonathan Quick
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With a quote that’s sure to raise the ire of the stats crowd, here’s Jonathan Quick on his .833 save percentage to start the season:

“That’s for people that don’t know the game. Those numbers don’t mean nothing. We’re 0-2, though. That number means something, so that’s something that we’ve got to get better at.”

(That quote, per LA Kings Insider.)

Quick allowed four goals on 22 shots in his last outing, a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Friday, after which head coach Darryl Sutter said of his star goalie: “He didn’t play very well tonight, did he?”

So even if Quick doesn’t think much of statistics, he should still be extra motivated for tonight’s home game against Vancouver, assuming he gets the start.

Last season, Quick’s .918 save percentage ranked in a three-way tie for 14th out of the 29 goalies who started 40 or more games.

Wild lose Graovac (groin) for 2-3 weeks

Tyler Graovac, Sam Reinhart,
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After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.

Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.

At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.