Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Malkin Balking?

Evgeni Malkin has restructured his deal with Magnitogorsk, from three years down to one, and it is possible that he will play another season for Metallurg before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is according to a report that ran earlier today on (story first picked up on by Can't Stop The Bleeding, then later by Off-Wing Opinion):

Russian center Evgeni Malkin has signed a new contract and will play in Russia for the 2006-2007 season, according to a report on the Magnitogorsk Metallurg website. However, his agents are hopeful that he will be playing in the NHL soon, as J.P. Barry has told the Associated Press that Malkin has indicated his preference is to play in the NHL this season.

The 20 year-old did have a contract with Magnitogorsk that ran through 2008, but that has reportedly been replaced by this new one-year deal, after which Malkin will become a free agent and presumably able to sign with the Penguins.

"His wish is to play in the NHL, and in Pittsburgh," Barry told the AP. "We will continue to talk to him about his future, and we will decide the best course for him at this time."

Here's the original report on Malkin's new contract, from Sport Express and also the Metallurg Magnitogorsk web site (the text on both sites is basically the same):

As a result of negotiations completed late last night (Sunday)-- between Victor Rashnikov, the president of Metallurg, and Evgeni Malkin and his agent-- Malkin's previous contract that bound him to Magnitogorsk until April 30, 2008 was annulled, and a new agreement was signed. Malkin will play for Metallurg during the upcoming 2006-07 season, and on May 1, 2007, he will become a free agent and will be able to sign with any other team.

On Tuesday, Malkin will join up with the Metallurg team, which had returned on Sunday from a tournament in the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The Reuters version of this story includes a quote from Malkin's agent saying that Malkin had already signed an entry-level contract with the Penguins.

Also note that on Thursday it was reported that Malkin's agents at the time had submitted a written two-week notice to Metallurg, trying to use a loophole in Russian labor laws in order to free Malkin of his contract with the team (today's story on, from the Associated Press, also mentions this). Malkin switched agents on Friday, and the AP story says that Malkin's new agents are trying to use the same loophole.