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Author: Maxim Gubernatorov (Gazeta.ru)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 12/16/2005
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins): They Decided I Have Enough Strength Left In Me!

2006 U20 World Junior Championships

Evgeny Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) (right) and Grigori Shafigullin (Nashville Predators) (left) at the U20 WJC (Photo: RussianProspects.com Exclusive)
One of the best Russian national team players during the squad's opening game victory against the Swedes at the ROSNO EuroTour cup was Metallurg's forward Evgeny Malkin. After the game the young forward answered a few questions from Gazeta.ru correspondent. Even though Malkin did not earn any points in the game against the Swedes, he was on the ice at the time when the team's captain Sushinsky opened the scoring. And overall, the forward, who last season was selected 2nd overall by Pittsburgh Penguins right after friend Alexander Ovechkin in the NHL Entry Draft, was always active and constantly kept the Swedish defense busy.

What is more important for you at the ROSNO Cup: to win the tournament or to showcase your game to the Russian National Team coaches in order to make the Olympic team?
E. Malkin: Of course Vladimir Vasilyevich is seeing here what I am capable of. I am sure that the main core of the team in Turin will consist of NHL players. He might pick five or so players from the Super League, so I try to show myself in the best light and to make this list. That is why, the most important thing is to win the ROSNO Cup, and if we win here, then maybe more players who are competing here will make that national team.

Last season you suffered a quite disappointing loss to the Canadians (1:6) in the U20 WJC finals. With what feelings are you approaching this upcoming tournament? (It will take place in Vancouver, Kamploops and Kelowna - Gazeta.ru)
E. Malkin:I haven't been to Canada yet, and have mainly got a chance to visit the US, specifically New York. This is my last U20 WJC and I have, unfortunately, have not been able to win the gold medals thus far. So, I would really like to fill in this gap. Right now I don't have time to think about it. In any case, it's always very honorable to play at such tournaments. We have an impressive lineup and that is why we have good chances of becoming the champions.

Still, do you sometimes recount that loss?
E. Malkin:Our team arrived at that deciding game against the Canadians very tired. We gave it everything we had. The outcome, actually, wasn't all that terrible. Simply, the took advantage of all their chancecs, scoring on the power play. Also, at the beginning of the game, our goalie (Anton Khudobin - Gazeta.ru) did not rescue us. But we made the right conclusions from the loss and will come to this U20 WJC and play as we did at the previous one. Only now, I believe we will have the fortune on our side and the meeting will end in our favor.

But you weren't planning on attending the U20 WJC and wanted to concentrate on the Olympics in Turin. What changed?
E. Malkin:I am not the one deciding these things, but the Russian Hockey Federation (FHR). I was not told right away that I would be going. They told me that I would be allowed to go if I still have any strength left. But then they remembered that we have a very good chance of winning and that I could really contribute on the U20 squad, so they allowed me to go anyways. It is quite honorable to win at the World Championships, and we definitely must achieve this result.

Is it probably better to play at the World Championships in Canada than with Metallurg at the Shpengler Cup in Switzerland?
E. Malkin:I would, of course, like to play at the U20 WJC. I will say it again that this is my last junior tournament, and I may have a chance to play at the Shpengler Cup next season.

Do you follow the misfortunes of the Penguins? (this week the legendary club's owner Mario Lemieux announced that the club will not likely remain in Pittsburgh after the expiration of the contract in 2007. He even named the new city - Kansas City. - Gazeta.ru)
E. Malkin:Yes, I follow things regarding the club in the press. To be honest, however, I don't get a chance to watch any games. They take place too late in our time. It is quite unfortunate that my team keeps losing (Pittsburgh is currently second to last in the Eastern conference - Gazeta.ru), but I think that club currently fields many young and talented players, and in a year or two they can help the team to rise higher in the rankings.

Magnitagorsk Metallurg's head coach Dave King announced in a recent interview to one of the North American media outlets that currently you are the best player in the Russian Super League. What do you think about that?
E. Malkin:I simply do what I can and I am very pleased that Dave says such things about me. I will do my best to continue fulfilling this pronouncement with my performance.

By the way, do you root for anyone in the race for the Calder Trophy in the NHL? Do you root for Sidney, who players for your Pittsburgh, or for your countryman Alexander Ovechkin in Washington?
E. Malkin:I think that is a funny question. I root, of course, for our guy Sasha. I am very good friends with him and worry for him.

By the way, you are often being compared to one, and then the other...
E. Malkin:I can't really comment on that. I played against Ovechkin in the Super League, but I practically know nothing about Crosby. I only know what I read in the media.

Written By: Maxim Gubernatorov (Gazeta.ru)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com)



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