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Evgeni Malkin doesn’t miss the NHL; ‘I’m in good shape, get plenty of time on the ice’

Sean Leahy
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Through 25 games, Evgeni Malkin has 11 goals and 33 points in the KHL, as Metallurg sits fourth in the Russian League's Eastern Conference.

As the NHL lockout hits day No. 75 today, he couldn't be more pleased with his time back home. ­According to Russia Today, Malkin was asked if he missed the NHL; his answer was "no".

"I'm happy with everything in Magnitogorsk," Malkin said to SovSport reporters. "We have a great team. We win a lot. I'm in good shape and get plenty of time on the ice."

Malkin also said that he hopes the NHL's owners stop being stubborn so play can finally resume:

"This 1 percent is millions of dollars," the Russian explained. "But what surprises me is that hockey isn't the main business for club owners. They are all billionaires and argue with us — those who make living only through sports. I've signed a good contract with Magnitogorsk. It's easier for me. But many guys are now sitting without money.

"We want a decent agreement with the NHL because we have to think about families. Club owners are great guys. I think they could've just given up on this 1 per cent and not be so stubborn," he added.

NHLers are still trickling over the Europe on an almost daily basis. Should things be shut down for the year like they were in 2004-05, how many more will pack their bags for the rest of the season? And will Sidney Crosby contemplate joining the other half of the Penguins' two-headed monster in Russia?

If so, perhaps Malkin can educate him on how intense things in the KHL can get.

On Wednesday, Malkin faced off against Vityaz. Three minutes into overtime of the 3-3 game, the Metallurg star was penalized for kneeing (2:06 mark):

With Malkin sitting in the box, Vityaz needed only 14 seconds to score and earn the 4-3 victory. After the goal, Malkin approached the officials to argue the call and was quickly given a 10-minute misconduct penalty for abuse of officials and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Basically the refs' way of saying "game's over, get out of here".

Instead of arguing with KHL officials, Malkin should be in the second month of defending his Art Ross and Hart trophies with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, the 26-year old is playing with Metallurg, the team he signed with all soon as the lockout began in September.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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