MOSCOW (AP/93-7 THE FAN) — When he accepted the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP this summer, Evgeni Malkin praised former teammate, friend, and landlord Sergei Gonchar for aiding his professional development. Now teacher and student have been formally reunited on the first full day of the NHL lockout.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL announced it has signed both Malkin and the Gonchar to one-year contracts. The current Penguin forward and former Pens defenseman will begin their European stint on Thursday, and Geno’s hometown team will serve as he and Gonchar’s employer until labor peace is achieved back in the West.
The league formally locked out its players early Sunday for the fourth time in the last two decades after the collective bargaining agreement between the sides expired. Further CBA talks did not take place either Saturday or Sunday.
Although Metallurg provided no further detail of their contracts, it said that they would comply with KHL regulations on signing NHL players during the lockout. Under these rules, KHL teams can sign a maximum of three NHL players above their limit of 25.
The KHL also sets the ceiling for the salaries of NHL players at a maximum of 65 percent of what they earn under their NHL deals. Malkin has two years and $16.5 million remaining on his deal with Pittsburgh. Ottawa’s Gonchar has one year and $5.5 million left.
Meanwhile, Metallurg is not holding its breath for the presence of former NHL MVP Sidney Crosby on KHL ice anytime soon.
Crosby said through agent Pat Brisson he would be amenable to playing overseas, and Malkin acknowledged it is a possibility. However, despite open-mindedness from Crosby’s camp, team president Gennadi Velichkin said no negotiations have taken place.
(Yahoo Sports also contributed to this report.)