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Penguins Room: Evgeni Malkin Family Still Makes a Big Difference



Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin

The sight of Evgeni Malkin’s parents, Vladimir and Natalia Malkin on the video board waving to a cheering crowd, usually wearing smiles that could almost be seen from space, was a regular, albeit special occurrence for most of Malkin’s first 10 years in the NHL. Often, it seemed they showed up as Malkin struggled, washing away the slump with some home cooking and enthusiasm.

Yep, Malkin still likes his parents, and while there is no official statistic that tracks his offensive output when momma and poppa Malkin make the trip from Magnitogorsk, Russia, to Pittsburgh, the effects are usually pretty obvious.

There were again on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin had a little pep in his step. He scored a pair of goals, leading the Penguins to a 3-2 win over Columbus.

However, age tends to slow things. Malkin, 37, is admittedly not the same player he was a few years ago. And it’s become more difficult for his parents to make the trip. In fact, Malkin said they haven’t been to a game since 2018 or ’19.

Time flies, doesn’t it?

“It’s been since like 2018 or 19, it was a long time ago (since they last visited),” “Yeah. It probably gave me a little bit more emotion there. It worked all the time. So imagine that coming in late October or November?”

When the Penguins put Vladimir on the video board, the arena went crazy. That’s how things used to be, too. Mr. Malkin always brought with him a little good luck and lots of smiles.

In addition to a pair of goals, Malkin led the Penguins with five shots on goal, including a few one-timers on the power play. For a night, it was like old times.

And Malkin is lobbying for more, too. After all, he said they still get up at 3 a.m. local time to watch each game, and they’re clued into the team and what’s going on. And, when Mrs. Malkin arrives, she still does a little bit of cooking, too.

“Yeah, they give me a little bit more motivation. They try to come here more often, but because of COVID for two years (they couldn’t),” Malkin said. “Now, they’re a little bit older, it’s hard to fly because it’s almost a 20 hour flight.

“Yeah, I hope next year they say like whole year.”


Pittsburgh Hockey Now has written in the past about Malkin’s situation. He gets precious little family time as his nuclear family is often in South Florida and his parents in Russia. It can’t be easy to be in a country with a native tongue he doesn’t speak well without family.

Malkin’s young son Nikita made the trip to Chicago for his 1000th game last season and read the lineup in the locker room. It was an emotional moment for Malkin.

Nikita again spent a week in Pittsburgh in later February. Not coincidentally, Malkin’s offensive output had an uptick, then, too. Malkin had a four-game assist streak as the team took off for their ill-fated western Canada road trip.

This season, Malkin has a respectable 55 points, including 21 goals, but those totals are well below his typical offensive output as injuries and playing all 82 games last season with age-defying outputs have begun to exact their revenge. After a red-hot start in October with linemate Reilly Smith, Malkin increasingly slowed this season until his recent surge

Malkin’s longtime teammate and friend Sidney Crosby took notice of the family effect, too.

“Yeah, you saw tonight,” Crosby said with a little laugh.