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Author: Pavel Zaitsev (Sport Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Alexei Belousenko
Date: 08/26/2005
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins): I hope Pittsburgh respects my decision

2006 Russian Super LeagueThe day before Sport Express reported that 19-year-old Evgeni Malkin, selecting between Magnitogorsk and Pittsburgh, gave preference to the Russian club. After that, the player explained the reasons for his decision.

How did you handle all this public excitement around your possible departure to America?
E. Malkin: Honestly, all this “excitement” makes is wearing me out. Every day I receive calls on my cell phone and home phone…

What most influenced your decision?
E. Malkin: The main reason is the team where I’ll stay. This is the strongest squad that I ever played on. After last season, Metallurg retained many great players and added a few new ones to them. The lineup looks younger now. After the Canadian coach arrived, we have improved our speed and toughness. Possibly, this Metallurg squad is weaker than the one of the late nineties, but we have an excellent chance to win the gold.

Substantial parts of the NHL rookie’s revenues are various awards. Have you thought that it’d be harder to earn them this season while Ovechkin and Crosby are rookies than it would be next season?
E. Malkin: Actually, I was ready to compete with Alexander and Sidney for the Calder Trophy. But my agents told me that it’d be easier to win the trophy in a year.

The ability to play on the national team, perhaps, was one of the reasons…
E. Malkin: Of course! My dream, as that of any other player, is to participate in Olympics. I think, it’d be harder to get on the Olympic national team from the NHL than from Russia, where the coaches watch the players all the time.

Is there a chance that Pittsburgh’s management will try to make you change your mind regarding this season?
E. Malkin: I hope they will respect and understand my decision. I already made the decision, so we’ll come back to this conversation in a year.

By the way, did you feel that even Metallurg’s president was constantly concerned regarding your future career?
E. Malkin: And not only in my case. Our club’s president Viktor Philipovich Rashnikov tries to keep his hand on the club’s “pulse”, personally participating in many decisions. I could feel this even during my years in the club’s hockey school and the junior farm club. Now, it is especially apparent on the main squad. His participation bares fruit, as the players know that all their problems will be resolved and they can’t let down. This means that we are not distracted and continue to concentrate on our most important goals.

Written By: Pavel Zaitsev (Sport Express)
Translated by Alexei Belousenko (RussianProspects.com)

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