It's official, but that doesn't make it any less weird.

Andrei Markov, whose 16-year career with the Montreal Canadiens came to a close in July, officially suited up for his 2017-18 Kontinental Hockey League debut on Thursday night, sporting Ak Bars Kazan's green uniform in his first action since playing for the Habs in April.

Markov, 38, lingered on the free agent market before the Canadiens announced in July they would not re-sign their longtime blue-liner. In an impromptu conference call through the team, the veteran said he wanted to stay in Montreal but "decided to move back to Russia and play in the KHL."

Markov, who appeared in the KHL during the 2012-13 season, had reportedly been seeking a two-year extension with Montreal, then nearly settled on a one-year contract before remaining unsigned most of July.