PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — First, Sidney Crosby became the center of an unpopular story over the weekend. Now, the other member of the Penguins’ famed “Two-Headed Monster” has been thrust into an awkward spotlight.
The Dallas Stars have refuted remarks from Vladimir Malkin, father of Penguins assistant captain Evgeni Malkin, that they illegally made an offer to the latter while he was still under contract with the Pens.
“The Dallas Stars organization respects and adheres to all rules and regulations set forth by the National Hockey League, and any report that claims otherwise is false,” Stars GM Jim Nill told CBS Sports NHL reporter Chris Peters, via Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News.
Malkin, 26, an erstwhile Stanley Cup champion, Conn Smythe Trophy (Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP), and Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) winner, as well as a two-time scoring champ, was slated for free agency in 2014. He struck an eight-year, $76 million deal to stay in Pittsburgh June 13, effective at the start of the ’14-’15 NHL season.
Click here to read the latest report from Peters.
What sparked this controversy was a phone interview the elder Malkin granted to the Russian media outlet SovSport that was picked up here in the West by Yahoo! Sports.
“You know, Dallas offered my son a bigger contract than Pittsburgh. And Zhenya [short for Evgeni] replied ‘No, I don’t want [to go] there.’ And that’s when the Stars had already signed Sergei Gonchar. His [Malkin’s] best friend [Gonchar] was there. Why not agree to go there?” Vladimir offered.
“But son said ‘If things in Pittsburgh were ever to go downhill and I would have to leave, I would pick the New York Rangers or the Montreal Canadiens. There are a few clubs, but I am in no rush to be in Dallas. But actually I don’t want to change houses, go somewhere. I am used to Pittsburgh–to the city and the team.’”
Malkin’s father said former Penguin Sergei Gonchar, who signed a two-year deal with the Stars three days before Geno signed his new contract, encouraged his former housemate and longtime friend to join him in Dallas.
As Yahoo! Sports NHL guru Greg Wyshynski (“Puck Daddy”) explained Tuesday, given Malkin’s status with the Pens, it is quite possible the actions and events described by Vladimir Malkin were simply misunderstood.
However, NHL rules dictate Gonchar, also an integral member of the Pens’ 2009 Cup team, could be fined, or his new team could incur a similar punishment, if it is found any “tampering” with Malkin’s contract negotiations indeed took place.
Click here to read the original story by Wyshynski, as translated, in part, by Dmitri Chesnokov.
Although he did claim Geno’s negotiations got off to a slow start, Vladimir affirmed his son is happy in Pittsburgh.
In 31 games, Malkin scored nine goals and 33 points during the truncated 2012-13 season, along with four goals and 16 points in the playoffs.
At the time of publication, there had been no comment from Evgeni Malkin or the Penguins, who begin training camp in less than a month.