|Author: Slava Malamud (Sport Express Newspaper)|
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
|Evgeny Malkin: You can't force someone to sign a contract at 3am! (Pittsburgh Penguins NHL)|
|2006 Russian Super League|
Yesterday in Los Angeles Sport Express North American correspondent met with
the escaped from Magnitogorsk Russian hockey player Evgeny Malkin.
Evgeni Malkin answering questions at the NHL Entry Draft after being selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo is a RussianProspects exclusive)
The long awaited call came on Thursday, exactly at noon by Washington DC time:
'Good day Slava, this is J. P. Right now Evgeny is in Santa Monica, this
is a part of Los Angeles. Please tell us what are your intentions and we will
try to help you...' That's it. Eureka! Evgeny Malkin, who for
almost an entire week was being searched for by reporters, agents, functionaries
and simply curious bystanders was finally found. The mystery has concluded and
now the journalist's work begins. As usual in such cases, not without
any transportation thrillers. Taking the call at noon, an hour later I was already
racing through the Washington Airport named Dulles, trying to catch the next
flight to California. There, on the west coast (you can't get any further
from Magnitogorsk), awaited me the answer to probably one of the biggest scandals
of the post Soviet hockey history.
As often happens in life when compared to thrillers, the detective process
itself was not all that interesting: routine work of feeling out the various
components of the network that all led to Evgeny's agents, which before
this point did not bring any results. The first electronic message from J. P
Barry, the representative of the SAA hockey agency I received back on Monday.
All it stated was just a promise to get in touch. On Wednesday I got another,
promising shortly a phone call and news regarding Malkin's location. As
it turned out, at that point Barry and Malkin boarded a plane at the airport
I arrived in Los Angeles just at 9pm. I received another call on the cell phone:
Barry and his partner Pat Brisson just accompanied Malkin to dinner to a Santa
Monica boulevard restaurant. 'Come right there, but you will not likely
get a good chance to talk to Malkin - wanred Barry - You can imagine
how tired he is after a transatlantic flight, and the time difference is also
having it's toll. Let's postpone the interview to tomorrow.'
I agreed, but with the condition that I could give Malkin several questions
so that they could make the Saturday's Sport Express issue.
So, Los Angeles, late evening, Santa Monica boulevard - a wealthy hang
out street right on the ocean coast. Palm trees are there, where would we be
without them? The restaurant is 'Python'. I arrive and Barry, a
big, happy Canadian, right away invites me to the table. I don't notice
Malkin right away, but when I look closer I see that the guy is definitely not
up to long stories: Evgeny is battling sleep with all his strength. So, the
first questions are to Barry.
By the way, I want to inform you that thus far Evgeny will not be giving many
interviews - says the agent - we specifically chose one journalist
from Canada, US and Russia. Canada is represented by TSN, US by the Los Angeles
Times newspaper and Russia by Sport-Express. You will get the first interview,
as we believe that the Russian public must learn about what happened as fast
That's great. Then please explain the current situation and what does
Evgeny plan to do?
We will need to hire lawyers, so as to sort out all the documentation and other
nuances. We will do everything in our power, so that Evgeny would have the absolutely
best advisors in the field of law as to his rights. The end goal of this effort
- is of course, him plying for Pittsburgh this season.
So, you are still not completely sure that Evgeny will play in the NHL.
All of the doubts will be in the legal proceedings. We know that Magnitogorsk's
general director Mr. Velichkin plans to file a law suit, but this would have
happened one way or another. There is no agreement between the NHL and Russia,
and that is why potentially each transfer will be accompanied by a suit, especially
one as high level as this one.
Are you confident that you will win in a legal battle?
J.P. Barry:I myself am a lawyer, and that is why I will not
make any concrete statements. American judges in contract law more often take
the side of the worker, than the employer. But in the current case Russian law
is also a factor, and this is something we will need to carefully study.
Recently Metallurg received a written notice from Malkin that annulled
his employment agreement with the team. In addition, Velichkin doubts it's
authenticity. He stated, for example, it is written by hand and not in Evgeny's
J.P. Barry: The letter, of course was not compiled by Evgeny.
Under his request, we used the services of a Russian speaking person, so that
Evgeny would know what he is signing. Evgeny read the paper and signed it. You
can ask him yourself.
E. Malkin: I signed it, everything is correct.
J.P. Barry: Regarding being handwritten.... What can you do? Unfortunately
at that place where we were, we did not have a computer or even a typewriter
Where were you, if it's not a secret?
J.P. Barry: In Helsinki, at a rented apartment. We were there
until Evgeny got an American visa. (So that's what it was! So the rumors
regarding Malkin's presence in Toronto turned out to be untrue -
S.M.) On Monday we had a meeting at the US embassee, and on Wednesday we finally
received the documents and flew to Los Angeles.
You said that you did not have a computer at the apartment, but how
did you respond to my emails?
J.P. Barry: Very simply - through my mobile phone with
an access to the internet.
How did the idea come about regarding Malkin's flight from the
J.P. Barry: Malkin called me from Magnitogorsk with a request
to do everything possible to help him leave HC Metallurg. He said that for the
trip to Finland he will be given his passport, so this would be his best chance.
We acted in accordance to his wishes.
If you don't mind, I would like for Malkin to describe this in
more detail himself. Evgeny - can you recollect when you called J.P. from
E. Malkin: I called him the first time before I started the
negotiations with Magnitogorsk. He said: 'Do not under any circumstances
sign a contract with them', and I agreed with this. But then things ended
up this way and I ended up signing a contract....at three o'clock
at night...and the next morning I called Barry and asked him to help me
Evgeny, two questions come to mind. First, why did you sign a contract
if you did not plan on doing so? Second, why after signing the contract you
still decided to leave the team and right away?
E. Malkin: I signed because I was strongly pressured. I constantly
explained to them that I want to go to the NHL, that I must continue to develop
as a player, and that I promised 'Pittsburgh'...but no one wanted
to listen to me. They weighed me down with their own arguments.
What were those arguments?
E. Malkin: Well, for example, I was constantly told that they
are working politically with the NHL in relation to the new agreement and that
they need to pressure the Americans. Things like that. They have politics, but
interests interested no one.
So, by three o'clock at night they managed to convince you. Why
did you chance your mind so quickly?
E. Malkin: In short, I was very offended with Velichkin. You
can't do that with people. You can't force them to sign agreements
at three o'clock at night. And in any case...understand, last year
they promised to let me go in a season. The promised! But here - it's
politics. So, it turns out that it's not really necessary for them to
keep their word?
Are you still mad or have your feelings changed?
E. Malkin: Very offended.
Question to J.P. Barry. Considering Evgeny's story, will you
be demanding from the court to annul the contract with Metallurg? Does this
situation fit the 'exerting psychological pressure' category?
J.P. Barry: As a lawyer I can say so with absolute confidence
of one hundred percent. So, if this happened in the US, between an employee
and an American company, the judge would have annulled the contract in two seconds.
There is nothing to think about. But I will repeat again what I said in the
beginning of our conversation: the conversation is not only regarding American
law. So, we need to wait for a legal investigation. I see that Evgeny is barely
standing on his feet, so let's postpone the details for tomorrow. Tomorrow,
by the way, he will hit the ice.
Barry was right...Malkin, judging by his appearance, was not likely ready
to continue the discussion. After photographing Evgeny, I agreed to meet on
Saturday afternoon. So, read in Monday's issue of our newspaper a more
detailed story of the Russian hockey star's adventures and about what
was happening behind the scenes.
Related Player Profiles: . E.Malkin
|main page |
player profiles |
2007 NHL Draft |
2006 NHL Draft |
game worn jerseys |
about us |
contact us |
Copyright © 2000-2003, Russian Prospects.com. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail the webmaster.
|NHL Entry Draft Results|| 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000|