By Allan Muir
It took a little longer than expected, but the Dallas Stars have finally responded to claims that they tampered with Evgeni Malkin.
The story, which originated on the Russian SovSport website, featured quotes from Malkin’s father suggesting that the Penguins star had turned down a larger contract offer this summer from the Stars to remain with Pittsburgh. If true, Dallas would have faced serious sanctions from the league.
And even though and no one placed a great deal of credibility in the claim, the story demanded some sort of response from the team. Here’s that statement, direct from GM Jim Nill, courtesy Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:
“We have seen the reports that have surfaced out of Russia claiming that we have tampered and they are completely untrue. The Dallas Stars organization respects and adheres to all rules and regulations set forth by the National Hockey League and any report that claims otherwise is false.”
That’s boilerplate indignation there, pretty much exactly what was expected, and needed, from the Stars.
A league source told SI.com he didn’t believe the Penguins were pursuing this with the league because there was no viable evidence of contact between the Stars and Malkin. And so the story ends here, at least officially … and at least until the Penguins visit Dallas on January 25.