Malkin sits down for interview with TSN
8/19/2006 12:05:11 AM
In the midst of a firestorm over the past couple of weeks, Russian centre Evgeni Malkin has arrived in North America and TSN's Darren Dreger sat down with him for an exclusive interview Friday.
Click on to the video link to watch the interview in its entirety.
"It's been very difficult," Malkin told TSN. "I was under great psychological pressure and it was hard. But, my concern was more for my family and how they would cope."
Malkin left his Magnitogorsk team on Saturday while the team was in Finland for training. Widely regarded as the best player not playing in the NHL, Malkin is considered the biggest bargaining chip in Russia's attempt to avoid the International Ice Hockey Federation's transfer agreement with the NHL.
Drafted second overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2004, the 20 year-old centre led Magnitogorsk with 47 points in 46 games last season.
Malkin bears no ill will towards his Russian team. "I don't have anything against the club," he said. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity I was given there. But, I wanted to play in the NHL, that was the only thing."
Having reportedly signed a new contract with Magnitogorsk on August 7, Malkin has given two weeks notice that he intends to void his contract, a tactic under Russian labour law that is also being used by Edmonton Oilers prospect Alexei Mikhnov. Malkin will be staying in Los Angeles until that two-week window expires on August 28.
At that point, he expects the process to move ahead so that he can open the season with the Penguins.
"Sure, I'm in the States right now and my dream is to go to the club and start playing as soon as possible..in a week," he said.
Looking ahead, Malkin is focusing on hockey and not the controversy that surrounds him.
"There are no concerns," he said.
"The only thing I'm thinking of is working hard to get into shape and I have to do that as soon as possible."