What it means

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If Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier signs Alexei Yemelin, its is safe to assume that Andrei Markov will be back.

Arpon Basu lays out the reasoning and Marc Antoine Godin agrees.

The team will not welcome Yemelin to Montreal by discarding an iconic Russian defenceman – albeit one who’s 32 and rehabbing a knee that’s older. During the two years Jacques Martin has coached the Canadiens, Markov has played only 52 regular-season and eight playoff games.

Re-signing Markov means the Canadiens would let James Wisniewski walk as a UFA who played himself into a contract – in the $4 million to $5 million range – the team can’t afford.

And a healthy Markov is a much better defenceman than Wiz.

If Gauthier signs Don Meehan’s Russian clients, the Canadiens would have Markov, Emelin, P.K. Subban and Jaro Spacek under contract for the upcoming season.

Add Josh Gorges and probably Hal Gill.

Bye-bye, Roman Hamrlik.

Yannick Weber as a versatile number 7 and, ladies and gentlemen, that’s your 2011-’12 D.

Photo by Mike Carlson/Reuters

J.T. weighs in on Jaromir Jagr, who scored a hat trick at the World Championships as the Czech Republic knocked out the U.S. on Wednesday. Tomas Plekanec had a goal and two assists.

• Hamilton Spectator feature on Randy Cunneyworth

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