Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Malkin's reasons for staying

Man who burns money at the Mint: Jack Ash

Originally this was part of the comment string on the "Ilya Kovalchuk situation" post, but I decided it would be worthwhile to take that information out and make its own post out of it. The quotes are from interviews with, taken from the Russian Hockey Digest web site:

8/24/05 - Comments by Gennady Velichkin, the GM of Malkin's Russian Super League team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk: "From the very beginning we agreed to make a decision constructively without any external affects. We worked with Evgeni and his parents in all directions. Our head coach Dave King talked to him, his teammates and I talked to him, as well. Of course, Evgeni will go to the NHL, eventually. He’s one of the best young Russian players. But, in my opinion, Malkin is not mature enough in order to become a star in the NHL; it’s a little early for Malkin to go. Also, he needs to work on his English, as well. But the most important, he should return debts to his parents that brought him up, the club that made him a hockey player and spent much power and resources. He should help Magnitogorsk to win the Championship. This coming season we have the real chance to fight for the golden medals. Besides, we build the second line around him... Malkin has a contract with us until 2008. Yes, he may leave earlier than that, but he shouldn’t forget that he has such a team, as Metallurg, that can fight for him with any competitor. This fight would follow all possible civilized rules. No one is going to hinder Malkin to leave. Even this year no one prohibited him to go. If he’d bought an airplane ticket to America, than who would stop him? We made an effort to keep the player for Russian fans, especially, Magnitogorsk."

Update 8/26/05 - Comments from Evgeni Malkin: "After the last season Metallurg saved many great players and added the new ones to them. The lineup looks younger now. After the Canadian coach came we should increase in our speed and toughness. Possibly, this Metallurg is weaker than the one in late nineties, but we have an excellent chance to win the gold... I was ready to compete with Alexander (Ovechkin) and Sidney (Crosby) for the Calder Trophy (the NHL's Rookie of the Year). But my agents told me that it’d be easier to win the trophy in a year... My dream, as any other player, is to participate in Olympics. I think, it’d be harder to get in the Olympic national team from the NHL than from Russia, where the coaches watch the players all the time. I hope Pittsburgh will respect and understand my decision. I already made a decision, so we’ll come back to this conversation in a year."

I think one of the more telling quotes is from the Mettalurg GM: "He should return debts to his parents that brought him up, the club that made him a hockey player and spent much power and resources." It's only fair that the Russian teams have a chance to keep home-grown players that they've developed and trained in team-affiliated hockey schools since they were in their early teens, and not have to watch their top prospects getting plucked by the NHL before their pro career has really even started for what amounts to next to nothing in return.