December 16, 2008
Another great interview of a Russian NHL star by Sovietsky Sport, and another thorough translation by Puck Daddy's official comrade Dmitry Chesnokov. This time it's Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins speaking recently with Natalia Bragilevskaya of SovSport in a conversation publishing tomorrow in Russia.
The interview touches on playing with and competing against Sidney Crosby in the points race; his new house and long-term plans with his lady-friend; playing through injuries; and, incredibly, how difficult it is to play the New York Islanders.
But it begins with Malkin talking about losing in the Stanley Cup finals to the Detroit Red Wings. Here's the translated interview from SovSport (thanks again, Dmitry):
MALKIN: "So, the summer is gone like it wasn't even here. There is still a bad feeling inside because let the Stanley Cup get away. But if you constantly think about it you can go crazy. We need to move on."
Q. Now you probably hate Detroit.
MALKIN: "Come on... The Red Wings were stronger, we have to admit it. We had to get a better start in the series. Then maybe everything would turn out different. This bitter rivalry between Pittsburgh and Detroit is fueled by journalists. I really felt it when we had a game not long ago. It turned out to be a great game -- the Penguins won 7-6."
Is the load of being the best point-getter in the league heavy?
"I am still carrying it. And I am lucky. I feel great. The main thing is that there are no injuries."
Sidney Crosby is following right behind you. Why is this player hated by a lot of fans?
"Maybe because of his behavior? But I think that Crosby is the best player. And those who are in the spotlight are always not liked."
People say that you're moving into your own house?
"I am still in the process [of moving]. I will hold the housewarming party on December 19. All documents are almost ready."
What made you take this step?
"I am getting more mature. It is time to live away from Sergei Gonchar. To start a family."
Is your wedding soon?
"Right over the hill. In about 5 years."
Does your girlfriend know of your long term plans?
"Of course. Who is the boss in the house?" (Malkin is laughing.)
Is this going to be a good house?
"I like it. It's a new three storey [house] with five bedrooms. It is within a five minute drive from the hockey arena."
What color is the wallpaper? [Gonchar used to mention this question as the one he hated the most when people asked him about Malkin's room in his house.]
"There are green, various colors. But I hope that journalists will not ask me such questions again."
The media calls you and Crosby a two-headed monster. Who adjusts to whom when you're on the same line?
"I think I don't change my style [of play]. But it is easier to pass with Sid. Opponents cannot cover both of us. That's why we create a lot more scoring chances."
It is your third year in the NHL. What teams are the most difficult to play against?
"You won't believe it, but Islanders are the most difficult. Although not long ago we routed that team 9-2. But this was an exception from the rules. Usually we play such a difficult and stretchy game with them. And I like Boston, who play an open game."
"It's a strong and an unpredictable team. Life is never easy with the Flyers."
Are you following the KHL?
"Usually I am interested in what is happening with Metallurg Magnitogorsk [Malkin's former team]. I know that no long ago they lost to Salavat Yulaef in the semi-final of the champions league. I wish them all the best in the return game."
Why did you miss training not long ago?
"My leg hurts a little bit. But I cannot say that it's a serious injury."
Have you learned to use your physical strength correctly so that you will have enough for the entire season?
"It comes with experience. Gonchar explained a lot of things to me. It is extremely important to lay a good foundation during summer workouts, and not hanging out in night clubs. I talk to veteran players like Gonchar and Viktor Kozlov. They tell me that they are still learning something new. So even in ten years I will say that I still don't have enough experience. If you think that you know everything in the NHL you can hang your skates on a nail."