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Radulov: Reports of asking Habs for eight-year deal ‘not even close’

Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 04: Alexander Radulov #47 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the NHL game against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre on February 4, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

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Hockey Twitter was set ablaze yesterday when a report from TSN 690 in Montreal claimed Alexander Radulov asked for an eight-year extension from the Habs.

TSN’s Insider Trading panel then discussed the report later Thursday evening, adding to the fire.

Today, Radulov emphatically shot down the report.

“It’s not even close, what they saying,” he said, per TSN’s John Lu. “I don’t even know how this -- I just don’t even want to discuss that because it’s nothing I can really control.

“I was sick yesterday and I got a phone call from my agent, [who said] ‘There’s something going on, some people talking.’ So I was like ‘Who’s talking? No one knows anything about it.’ I even talked to Marc [Bergevin, Habs GM] today and it’s like someone throw it in the Internet, or whatever it was, and it doesn’t make sense.”

Radulov, who turns 31 in July, returned to the NHL this year after four-year stint with KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow. The Habs rewarded him handsomely for coming back -- one year, $5.75 million -- and Radulov has responded, scoring 15 goals and 47 points in 65 contests.

He’s been lauded for his passionate play and has become one of the club’s most dependable forwards. He’s averaging over 18 minutes a night, and trails only captain Max Pacioretty in terms of scoring.

But an eight-year deal?

To be fair, Radulov is probably looking for some term, and rightly so. Bergervin hasn’t been shy about handing out lengthy contracts -- Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher and Jeff Petry all got six-year deals -- and the talented Russian does have some leverage right now, given he’d likely score big money if he tested free agency this summer.