Put Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov back on practice ice, thus back in the news, stir in an unsubstantiated contract report and bingo! A world scoop because you're told it is.

Don Meehan, Markov's agent, wouldn't go within a country mile of a report circulating Friday that said the Canadiens had offered, and had rejected, a one-year, $5.75-million contract to the two-time all-star who is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1.

"All I can tell you is that (Canadiens general manager) Pierre Gauthier and I have agreed to deal with (Markov's) status at the end of the year and not now," Meehan said late in the afternoon from Edmonton.