Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Velichkin: Malkin Writes Like A Girl

Evgeni Malikin, from possibly his last game as a member of Magnitogorsk, Aug. 11 against Krylya Sovetov (Alexandre Fedorov/Sport Express photo)

Yesterday, the latest Evgeni Malkin news was that he had re-submitted his resignation letter to his Russian team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Today, a story in MosNews has Metallurg GM Gennady Velichkin claiming that the resignation letter is a fake (link through Kukla's Korner):

Metallurg Magnitogorsk general director Gennady Velichkin has called Evgeniy Malkin’s letter of resignation a “crude falsification”.

Velichkin told ITAR-TASS news agency Wednesday that he had received a strange fax. He claims that the document, allegedly Malkin’s resignation letter, was not signed by Malkin. Velichkin says that the letter had been written by a woman, as the author’s handwriting is very legible, but the signature is unclear. Metallurg’s lawyer has not been able to compare Malkin's signature-- which Malkin had put on a contract with the Russian team on the August 7-- with the signature on the so-called letter of resignation, Velichkin said.

Perhaps the letter was forged by Natasha and Boris Badenov?

In other Malkin news, a couple of days ago, Soviet Sport ran an interview with Sergei Isakov, Malkin's former Russian agent (translated by Russian Prospects):

Said Isakov, "I knew of Malkin's plans back on Friday night.

"On Friday night I was sitting in a car with Malkin. He told me that he planned to run away. I spent a half an hour trying to dissuade him from this act. I did this because I believe in ethics. If Malkin signed this unfortunate contract – whether he was made or persuaded, he still did it – then he needs to fulfill its terms – not running away to the NHL, but staying in his home town of Magnitogorsk.

"I got the impression that Malkin wasn't himself. I never seen him like that. After Evgeny left our agency, he became a different person who makes unreasonable decisions and doesn't understand what he is doing. But what is being done by the agency – before it was called IMG – but now? – they are ruining the guy. There will be lawsuits and that will reflect on Malkin's mental state and will interfere with his NHL debut.

"Malkin's decision was very foolish. I believe that he is under some sort of a spell. (He is being manipulated) by his agents. Yes, Pittsburgh wants Malkin to be there, but they're not exerting the pressure. Unlike agents, who want to make their percentages from the player's contract.

"Now it turns out that Malkin was simply stolen. You need to do your job in a civil manner. Sign a deal and go to the side. Or there will be unpleasant games...Where did Malkin run off to? To whom? Does he even know?"

"Gennadi Ushakov (Malkin's current Russian agent) and his partner, Dmitri Goryachkin, were in Moscow. On Friday night I saw them in one of the restaurants. Malkin was with them. I think they were discussing the details of his departure. By the way, Velichkin already called Ushakov and started to scream at him. In return, Ushakov responded: 'I would have preferred if Malkin stayed – I would have earned more money. I don't know anything about this!'.

"Metallurg gave Malkin a very comfortable contract. No one in Russia makes that kind of money, with the exception of Alexei Morozov in Ak Bars. But why sign another contract? Now everyone has a headache, and I don't know what will happen with Malkin."

UPDATE 8/17/06 5:08pm - TSN is reporting that Malkin is in Los Angeles, and that J.P. Barry was the unknown man who met Malkin at the airport in Helsinki (credit James Mirtle for the pointer).