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Malkin Makes Us Laugh, Talks Penguins Future & New Contract, ‘I’m a Pretty Rich Guy!’

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin wants to play three or four more years, but don’t expect to see him at PPG Paints Arena this Sunday. Recognizing the end is closer than the beginning, but also staying in the present, Malkin’s rehab progress with the Pittsburgh Penguins is drawing positive reviews from head coach Mike Sullivan and defensemen as he weaves around them in practice drills. Wednesday, he had the media room laughing as he uncorked a few one-liners about his game and specifically about his contract status.

To get this out of the way, expect Malkin back next week. Maybe in seven to 10 days, but probably not this Sunday against the San Jose Sharks.

It’s been more than six months since his knee surgery on June 3. For players in their mid-30s, serious knee surgery can often mean the end of a career. However, Malkin’s rehab and practice work doesn’t look like a player at the end.

It was also his choice not to have surgery last March after the initial injury. Evgeni Malkin said the team’s strong Stanley Cup chances led him to rest instead of getting it done right away. He termed it a difficult conversation with doctors who gave him a choice in March. Malkin could have waited and rested to see if he could play again last season. That was his first choice, but after being one of the Pittsburgh Penguins best players in their Round One loss to the New York Islanders, he had a second MRI, which came with bad news.

That’s when he chose to go under the knife. He didn’t want to worry about his knee every game and getting hit in the corners.

“…After the Boston game last year, and I did MRI the next day (March 17), and we had a discussion with (a team doctor), and it’s a hard discussion. He said you could try to play without surgery. Those are your options. I wouldn’t have played in the playoffs last year without a great team, and I think we had a chance,” Malkin said.

“I only worried when somebody hit me in the corner–my knee not swelling up. We lost in the first round, and I did an MRI again. The second MRI showed a little bit worse, and it was a hard choice. I waited a couple of days and decided that, yeah, I needed surgery. I want to play like three or four years more, and I didn’t want to worry every game about my knee. Now my knee is 100% stronger.”

Malkin packs a lot into his sentences, doesn’t he? The takeaway was that he soldiered through a severe knee injury, but now that he’s had surgery, don’t expect a decline–expect him to be better than before.

“It was a hard choice. Last year was not a great year for me. Sometimes it happens,” he concluded.”One of the positive things — my last knee injury, I came back it was one of my best years.”

There is that, too. On the contrary, Malkin admitted he wants to play three or four more years. That’s when this scribe asked about the elephant in the room.

Malkin doesn’t have a contract beyond this season.

“I’m not thinking about my contract, I’m not thinking about money. I’m, like, a pretty rich guy,” he laughed.

 

 

So, perhaps he won’t be asking for $10 million next season? That slap you heard was his agent J.P. Barry’s head on his desk. But the cheering you heard may have been from Penguins fans as Malkin essentially signaled he wouldn’t pound the negotiating table across from Ron Hextall.

Even the elephant in the room probably chuckled. Perhaps there will be less difference between Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins than seemingly exists between Bryan Rust, Kris Letang, and the org regarding new contracts.

So, Evgeni Malkin is stronger than before. He doesn’t need money. And he’s beginning to dazzle in practice but won’t play for about seven to 10 days. Now you’re all caught up on the Full Malkin.

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Frank
Frank
7 months ago

Without doubt there is a substantial percentage of the fan base that does not like Geno, never has and never will. OK . .. it’s a game and opinions are like noses . . . we all have one. But before anyone launches into another rant about his play . . .take a look at the 2004 NHL draft. There were two generational players that year selected #! and #2. Ovie and Geno. Now . . . in case you think picking 18 year olds in the first round is “obvious and easy” scroll down through the next 23 selections.… Read more »

Rob
Rob
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank

I have said, and will continue to say, keep geno or rebuild! Sure people can say trade him or let him go, or whatever, but at the end of the day who do you replace him with? No one ever offers any suggestions for that question. 35 year old Malkin is still better than most teams have for their #2 center. Try to replace him and its a major downgrade. What would be the point of that when you still have sid playing at an elite level? If he comes back and plays at his level you sign him for… Read more »

Kris
Kris
7 months ago

10 more days till Geno plays? Is he in the MCL protocol?

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
7 months ago

To have one cup is an accomplishment in this day and age. Being picked at # 2 and winning 2 more cups than the # 1 pick is nothing to slouch at either. I would think Malkin would’ve been a better two-headed monster than the # 1 pick, he added a better dimension to create a more desired 2nd line. The bottom 6 was the harder part of repairing after Staal left, but the Pens were still an extremely exciting team. I would get annoyed with some of Malkin’s seemingly uninterested plays, but the rewards the Pens received from him… Read more »

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
7 months ago

I would be shocked if he plays elsewhere. Many fans respect his accomplishments but want to see him gone. Lets be honest, still the most talented player on the team and probably one of most unfairly judge because who really knows him. What indication has he shown that breaking the bank is his motive? I think he will take less and i also think it will tied into games played. Plus it would probably benefit him playing on the wing rather than center. Probably not a popular opinion.

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[…] Evgeni Malkin had the media cracking up during a Zoom avail, including a line about his wealth (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

Fredrick
Fredrick
7 months ago

Maybe if he takes a paycut. Maybe Hex can lock up him, Rust, and Letang up with him taking a pay cut.

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[…] Evgeni Malkin had the media cracking up during a Zoom avail, including a line about his wealth (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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[…] Evgeni Malkin had the media cracking up throughout a Zoom avail, together with a line about his wealth (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

David
David
7 months ago

Hope Geno comes back and is better than ever and does play 3 or 4 more years. But if he gets hurt again this season, that entire hope may come down crashing.

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[…] “I’m a pretty rich guy,” joked Evgeni Malkin.  […]

Charlie
Charlie
7 months ago

Cane here through a link from the Avs site. Not a Penns fan, always been a Malkin fan though. You guys sure are lucky to have him.

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[…] season, and he’s not thinking about money, “I’m a pretty rich guy,” joked Evgeni Malkin. He was a lot of fun yesterday.PHN+: The Penguins wanted to have an up-tempo, 5v5 practice as they […]

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[…] the response for Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski when asked about his contract status. “I’m a pretty rich guy,” Malkin said. But what will the 35-year old’s next contract look […]

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