Evgeni Malkin: Sidney Crosby may play in Russia if NHL has lengthy lockout
With the first anniversary of the Lokomotiv plane crash tragedy next week, a few prominent people in Russia, including hockey players, are holding charity events to raise money for the families of the victims.
On Wednesday afternoon, Team Kovalchuk and Team Malkin played a charity game in Moscow that ended in a friendly draw 14-14. After the game, Evgeni Malkin gave some intriguing quotes regarding the potential NHL lockout.
"I didn't organize this event as it has been held for the last three years," Malkin told SovSport's Pavel Lysenkov. "I am only here to substitute Ovechkin [who is at the U.S. Open in New York]."
Here's Malkin's chat with Lysenkov:
Q. For the last week the media has been discussing where Evgeni Malkin will play in case of a lockout…
MALKIN: "It's been said a hundred times that the lockout hasn't been announced. Why make any statements for nothing? Yes, I have an agreement — I will play for [Metallurg] Magnitogorsk. But I have not signed a contract."
Metallurg vice president Gennadi Velichkin said that his club owns your rights.
"There are no rights. But that's my city. Why leave? I don't want to create a negative atmosphere around myself. It's important for me what fans think and say about me. Everything that's dear to me is in Magnitogorsk — family, friends… I hope that I will play at home and the lockout will be over by the New Year's."
Dynamo let everyone know that they are not ready to pay Ovechkin a lot.
"I believe that Metallurg won't turn me down…"
And what's the word from Pittsburgh? Will there be a lockout?
"I don't know myself. I am following the news, I'm anxious. But hockey players are like employees. We work for the salary when it is paid. Everyone wants to make good money. But club owners have the same feeling. I want to believe that 2004 won't be repeated when salaries were rolled back 25 percent. Maybe just a little bit."
Will Sidney Crosby come to Magnitogorsk?
"I think he won't go to the KHL right away. He will see how the situation develops. I see that the league and the PA have started to come closer. Perhaps the lockout won't continue for the entire year. That's why a lot of North American players won't go to Europe until the very last moment. A lot of them are a bit afraid of Russia. But the best hockey league in the world after the NHL is here.
"And if the lockout is announced for the entire season, then Crosby may come. He loves to play and won't be able to live an entire year without hockey."
Has anyone else you play with for Pittsburgh showed interest in the KHL?
"Canadians joked about it at the end of last season. 'We heard that in Russia you get paid well. Let's go there!' But I'm tired of discussing every day whether there will be a lockout. Rumors already have me at CSKA! And in reality I simply live in Moscow. We agreed with the club GM Sergei Fedorov that Gonchar, Bryzgalov and I would be allowed to practice with Red Army [CSKA's junior team].
"But I have not considered any other options other than Magnitogorsk. And I won't consider anything else."