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Evgeni Malkin of Penguins out with foot injury

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Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin played hurt during a frustrating 1-0 loss to the Blues on Sunday. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

The Penguins announced this morning that Evgeni Malkin will be lost for two to three weeks with a foot injury. According to coach Dan Bylsma, the big center was hurt on his first shift in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis over the weekend, but continued to play through it. No further details were offered.

There’s never a good time for a team to lose a superstar to injury but, all things considered, now’s as good a time as any for the Pens.

Pittsburgh has a nearly insurmountable 13-point lead over the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and trails Boston by seven points for the Eastern Conference title. Barring a complete collapse — or an epic run — they’re essentially locked into position heading into the postseason. And the time frame for being out of action puts Malkin back in the lineup right around the beginning of the playoffs. And maybe while that foot is healing, the various bumps and bruises he’s been dealing with might take care of themselves, too.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2014
  • Evgeni Malkin: Having a gay teammate would be “no problem”

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    Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Evgeni Malkin may have gone to the Russian playbook for handling the gay rights question. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    With training camps opening around the league yesterday, it was only a matter of time before reporters tracked down the NHL’s Russian players and asked for a take on the gay rights controversy stalking the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

    The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, arguably the biggest star who is not yet on the record, managed to skirt the issue, saying he didn’t feel comfortable discussing the topic because English isn’t his primary language.

    It made for a lousy dodge. After all, it doesn’t take a nuanced understanding to say “Yes, I’m in favor” or “I’m opposed.”

    He did, however, offer a response when a reporter asked if he would have a problem playing with a gay teammate.

    “No, no problem,” he said.

    So maybe it wasn’t a dodge so much as a canny play. Malkin avoided offering an answer to the tough question that would have offended either his homeland or his adopted home, and instead threw out a bone to tolerance. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes the playbook moving forward, at least for the Russians playing in North America.


  • Published On Sep 13, 2013
  • Video: Little kid beats the living snot out of Evgeni Malkin

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    By Allan Muir

    Doesn’t matter who you are in this game. You can’t let anyone push you around . . . even in the handshake line.

    And during a recent charity game that featured some of Russia’s top stars, this unnamed seven-year-old wasn’t in the mood to take any crap from anyone. So when Evgeni Malkin popped him in the head, things got ugly in a hurry.

    Hey, that’s every little kid’s dream right? To meet his favorite professional athlete . .  .and beat the tar out of him.

    It wasn’t long before a yard sale was in progress, with gloves and sticks flying while two officials stood nearby — and out of harm’s way.

    In the end, Malkin succumbed to the pummeling, prompting Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to offer the kid a three-year entry-level contract.


  • Published On Aug 26, 2013
  • Dallas Stars: Evgeni Malkin tampering reports are false

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    Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    With no complaint from the Penguins, the NHL won’t be looking into the alleged incident. (Getty Images)

    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:

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  • Published On Aug 13, 2013
  • Evgeni Malkin’s father suggests Dallas Stars tampered with Penguins property

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    (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    Evgeni Malkin (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Most parents of pro athletes get it. If the time ever comes that they’re interviewed about their pride and joy, their job is to keep the responses as positive and as flavorless as possible. Never say anything that might inflame the home town fans or worse, the employers.

    Unfortunately, Evgeni Malkin’s dad missed the memo. Or maybe he just got a lousy translation.

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  • Published On Aug 12, 2013
  • Pavel Datsyuk’s extension with Red Wings a new kick in the rubles for KHL

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    Pavel Datsuk signed a new contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings

    The KHL will have to wait until Pavel Datsyuk is 40 if it wants him as a marquee star. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Pavel Datsyuk may have been speaking from the heart when he talked about how much fun he had playing back home in Russia during the lockout. “This is my goal [to end my career in the KHL], but you never know how it goes,” he said. “I would love to finish there, give back to my friends and fans in Russia [while] I hope I’ll be in good shape.”

    But by the end of the season, he was coming from a much more pragmatic place when he voiced a wish to stay in Detroit. “Yeah, I hope we sign a new deal. I hope we agree and I sign for more [years],” he said as the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers.

    And so it was no surprise when Datsyuk tweeted today that he’d come to terms on a three-year extension that will earn him $23 million and keep him with the Wings through the 2016-17 season.

    It’s a win for both sides. Datsyuk will be paid $10 million the first year, $7.5 million the second, and $5.5 million the third, with a cap hit of $7.5 million that’s more than manageable for Wings and a fair payday for a player who led the team in scoring this past season. Big smiles all around.

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013
  • Evgeni Malkin takes hometown discount to seal new deal with Penguins

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    Evgeni Malkin signed a new contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Despite the rumors, trading Evgeni Malkin was never really an option for the Penguins. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Shortly after the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they’d signed Evgeni Malkin to an eight-year, $76 million extension this morning, the blog Russian Machine Never Breaks tweeted a pretty tidy perspective on the deal. The numbers illustrate the massive risk that the Pens have exposed themselves to with this contract and the 12-year, $104.4 million deal signed by Sidney Crosby last year. But when you’ve got the chance to lock down the two best players in the world, what else are you gonna do?

    Risk aside, this agreement is still a big win for GM Ray Shero, who is doing a nice job of getting his house in order ahead of the draft and the start of free agency. Trading a game-breaking talent like former MVP Malkin, or worse, letting him escape for nothing next summer, was never an option. This deal keeps the player happy, and ensures that Pittsburgh employs the best 1-2 center punch in hockey for nearly a decade to come.

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  • Published On Jun 13, 2013
  • BREAKING: Evgeni Malkin returns to action tonight

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    Evgeni Malkin

    Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, who has missed 17 games this season, will return to action tonight. (USA Today)

    By Allan Muir

    Good news tonight in Pittsburgh — and bad news for the rest of the league.

    Local media are reporting that Evgeni Malkin will check back into the lineup for tonight’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres. The reigning Hart Trophy winner has missed 17 games this season, including the last four with a lingering upper body injury.

    Other sources say that Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang also are set to play. Fleury missed the last game in Ottawa to stay by the side of his pregnant wife. Letang missed the trip with food poisoning.

    There’s no word yet on possible return dates for the players remaining on the sidelines, including Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Paul Martin.

    The Pens are currently on a seven-game winning streak that already has seen them clinch the top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.


  • Published On Apr 23, 2013
  • With Sidney Crosby out, what’s next for the Penguins?

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    Sidney Crosby with broken jaw

    The big question is: how strong and sharp will Sidney Crosby be when he returns? (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Sidney Crosby learned today that he’d been named the NHL’s First Star for March. He might have appreciated the nod a bit more if he hadn’t heard about it while laid up in in the hospital.

    Crosby, the NHL’s leading scorer and prohibitive favorite to capture another Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, is still under doctor’s care — not a good sign — and is out of the Penguins’ lineup indefinitely two days after suffering a broken jaw in a game against the Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

    “Indefinite” is a purposely nebulous term. The Pens have promised an update later in the week, but they don’t want to say anything before they have to.

    But we know these things tend to require 4-6 weeks to heal. That means Sid could be out for the rest of the regular season…and possibly into the playoffs, which are scheduled to start Apr. 30.

    That’s a tough break (sorry about that) for Crosby, who was putting together a season for the ages, and for a Pittsburgh squad that had been universally anointed as Stanley Cup favorites just last week after a trio of deals added Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla to an already nasty lineup.

    Oh, and this team has won 15 straight games, just two shy of the all-time record.

    DATER: Pens take hit, but stay No. 1 in NHL Power Rankings

    No team can lose a talent like Crosby and not feel it…but is it really a disaster for the Pens?

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  • Published On Apr 01, 2013
  • Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk as movie stars?

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    By Allan Muir

    Is there a Russian version of EGOT we don’t know about? Because it looks like Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk are going for it.

    Already superstars on the ice, the Slavic Getzlaf and Ryan are putting their acting chops on display in a new Russian children’s movie, 12 Months.

    I’m not sure if the hockey gods have this kind of pull, but this sets up the greatest episode of Inside The Actor’s Studio ever.

    From what I can decipher (hey, it’s been 30 years since I studied Russian at U-Dub), a girl somehow intercepts 12 wishes that were intended for a younger boy to use over the course of a year. Instead of returning them to the rightful owner, she sets out to make his wishes come true so she can keep the magical wishes for herself.

    Much zaniness ensues.

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  • Published On Mar 12, 2013


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