|Author: Pavel Lysenkov (Soviet Sport Newspaper)|
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
|Sergei Issakov: It’s like Evgeny is under hypnosis (Evgeny Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins NHL)|
|2006 Russian Super League|
Soviet Sport newspaper correspondent spoke to Sergei Issakov, who until very recently
represented the interests of Evgeny Malkin. Then the forward returned to his old
agent Gennady Ushakov. Issakov, as an independent expert gave his opinion and
commentary regarding the situation with Malkin.
Evgeny Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins NHL) skating for Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) against Ak Bars during the 2005-06 season.
I knew regarding Malkin's plans back on Friday night – acknowledged
This was a premeditated act?
S. Issakov: Probably. Malkin can't just run away without his
Malkin's visa was already prepared though.
S. Issakov: Malkin has already for a long time had
a Canadian visa. Even since before the signing of a new deal with Metallurg.
So, he ran away, made that decision. I just don't understand one thing
– why sign a new agreement with Metallurg? Making some kind of promises...Malkin
told me that he had for a very long time been persuaded by Metallurg's
management. The negotiations ended at his house at 2:30am. The strongest pressure
was applied on Malkin and Evgeny could not withstand it.
What was the shape of this pressure?
S. Issakov: I did not ask him to elaborate. But, you
understand, that Metallurg's management could have easily found better
things to do than to try to persuade Malkin into the late hours of the night.
Maybe some specific clauses were added to the deal. One of them probably restricted
him from playing in the NHL this season. Now, the club's management can
take advantage of this clause.
Metallurg's general manager Gennady Velichkin already stated
that his club will file a lawsuit against Pittsburgh.
S. Issakov: Yeah? Well, that is the right thing to
do....On Friday night I was sitting in a car with Malkin. He told me that
he planned to run away. I spent a half an hour trying to dissuade him from this
act. I did this because I believe in ethics. If Malkin signed this unfortunate
contract – whether he was made or persuaded, he still did it – then
he needs to fulfill it's terms – not running away to the NHL, but
staying in his home town of Magnitogorsk.
I get the impression that Malkin wasn't himself. I never seen him like
that. After Evgeny left our agency, he became a different person who makes unreasonable
decisions and doesn't understand what he is doing. An agent needs to be
there to give him a correct advice. But what is being done by the agency –
before it was called IMG – but now? – they are ruining the guy.
There will be lawsuits and that will reflect on Malkin's mental state
and will interfere with his NHL debut.
Metallurg improved the conditions of his contract. His parents tried to convince
their son – his father really wanted his son to stay in Russia. But his
agents stayed the course. That is not right. It's not 1989, when Alexander
Mogilny ran away to Buffalo. Malkin could have come to Metallurg's management
and said: 'Guys, I am not going to sign a new deal'. He could have
taken advantage of our 'interesting' laws and given his resignation
notice and be free in just two weeks.
Malkin already signed it?
S. Issakov: I don't know – I didn't
The situation looks quite foolish, even if not for the financial speculation,
when a player signs a contract in Russia to get more money out of the NHL, since
Pittsburgh is offering Malkin a maximum possible rookie contract.
S. Issakov: Of coruse! NHL is an open league where
all the amounts are public information. There is a rule that a rookie can't
have a salary more than 983 thousand dollars and you can't argue with
that. There could be bonuses, but you have to earn them. What is there to discuss?
Malkin would not have been able to earn more across the ocean than what was
offered (by Metallurg). The first contract is the first contract. It is for
three years and it is two way...Malkin's decision was very foolish.
I believe that he is under some sort of a spell.
Do you think he is manipulated by his agents or Pittsburgh's
S. Issakov: Of course his agents. Yes, Pittsburgh
wants that Malkin would make it there. But it doesn't exert pressure.
Unlike agents, who want to make their percentages from the player's contract.
When I worked with Malkin, I used to tell him: 'Zhenya, decide for yourself.
If you want to go to the NHL, we can do it so you can sign a contract with Pittsburgh.
If you want to stay in Metallurg, no problem. Everything was on the table for
him. Now it turns out that Malkin was simply stolen. You need to do your job
in a civil manner. Sign a deal and go to the side. Or there will be unpleasant
games...Where did Malkin run off to? To whom? Does he even know?
At the airport he was met by a person, who was not Gennady Ushakov.
S. Issakov: Well, yes. Ushakov and his partner Dmitry
Goryachkin were in Moscow. On Friday night I saw them in one of the restaurants.
Malkin was with them. I thin they were discussing the details of his departure.
By the way Velichkin already called Ushakov and started to scream at him. In
return, Ushakov responded: 'I would have preferred if Malkin stayed –
I would have earned more money. I don't know anything about this!'.
Metallurg offered Malkin probably no less than what he was offered
in North America?
S. Issakov: Metallurg gave Malkin a very comfortable
contract. No one in Russia makes that kind of money with the exception of Alexei
Morozov in Ak Bars. But Zhenya had a great will to play in the NHL. And that
is fine. Our Alex Ovechkin, with whom I work, also wanted to go to North America.
Also did Andrei Markov and Zhenya Nabokov... All of our clients moved from
Russia to the NHL in a civil manner. But why sign another contract? Now everyone
has a headache, and I don't know what will happen with Malkin.
Related Player Profiles: . E.Malkin
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