Longtime Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov announces retirement

Longtime Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov announces retirement

MONTREAL — Longtime Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov announced his retirement from pro hockey on Thursday.

The 41-year-old Markov played 990 regular-season games with the Canadiens between 2000 and 2017 before returning home to Russia to finish his pro career.

Markov spent his final three years in the Kontinental Hockey League, suiting up for the last time in the 2019-20 season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Montreal selected Markov 162nd overall in 1998, and he went on to produce 119 goals and 572 points while being named an NHL All-Star twice (2008, 2009).

Markov anchored the Canadiens power play for years and had a career-high 64 points in 82 games in the 2008-09 campaign before major injuries to his ankle (2009) and knee (2010) limited him to just 20 games through the next two seasons.

The injuries cast doubt on Markov bouncing back. However a return to action in March 2012 at 33 marked the end of a 16-month absence that included rehabilitation from two knee surgeries involving anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions. He dressed for five more seasons with the Habs after that, three of them with at least 81 games played.

Following the 2016-17 season Markov joined the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan for two campaigns, winning a league championship in 2017-18. He expressed a desire to return to Montreal ahead of this season, but the Habs chose to go on without him.

Markov was named an alternate captain in 2009-10 and held the ‘A’ until he returned to Russia. He played under three different Montreal captains — Saku Koivu, Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty, as well as alongside current captain Shea Weber.

Markov is tied with Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe for second in points among Canadiens defencemen, behind only Hall of Famer Larry Robinson (883).

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for the Canadiens and congratulations on an incredible career, Andrei!,” the Canadiens posted on social media.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press