Legal challenge against Malkin fails

Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin

11/15/2006 6:33:46 PM

A legal challenge by a Russian club team to prevent Evgeni Malkin from playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins has failed.

A U.S. District court judge ruled today from the bench that Metallurg's request for an injunction to keep Malkin from playing in the NHL this season has been rejected.

''We always have been confident in our position in Evgeni's case,'' Penguins vice-president of communications Tom McMillan said in a statement Wednesday. ''We are very happy for Evgeni, his family and Penguins fans.''

The Russian club may continue to pursue legal avenues and go to trial in order to seek compensation for the loss of Malkin, who had signed a contract to play in Russia this season, but Wednesday's ruling means Malkin will play this season in the NHL no matter what.

It will be up to the Russian club to decide whether to take the matter to trial, but today's ruling is considered a significant victory for Malkin, the Penguins and the NHL.


Similar motions from Russian club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl that would have stopped Andrei Taratukhin of the Calgary Flames and Alexei Mikhnov of the Edmonton Oilers from playing in the NHL have also been dismissed.

''We are pleased with Judge Preska's ruling today which will allow these players to continue to play for their NHL clubs,'' said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. ''We are hopeful that today's decision will persuade the plaintiff Russian clubs to discontinue their strategy of litigation and to join with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, through their representative, the International Ice Hockey Federation, in good faith negotiations intended to facilitate Russia's participation in the global agreement that governs European players' transfer to the NHL.''

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