The Pittsburgh forward is in perfect shape, the last two matches are proof of that. A few days ago, the Penguins destroyed Detroit (11: 2), and Eugene scored a hat-trick and gave the assist. And now Malkin is back in history: in the game against “Rangers” (2: 3), he was the 697th assistant in his overseas career and became the best Russian in the NHL in this respect, beating the legendary Sergei Fedorov.
Good old Gino is finally back, his game is admired again. The hockey player deserved special respect for his determination, because just a couple of months ago, everyone forgot about the existence of Malkin.
How Anna Kasterova lives with hockey player Malkin
Severe injury, six months of rehabilitation, “graters” with a contract
End of May 2021. Pittsburgh knocks out of the Stanley Cup for the third time in a row after the first round. Malkin dragged as he could, scoring 5 points in the series with the Islanders. But he could not save Pittsburgh from another disgrace. And in the course of the Constitutional Court, the Russian also flew out of the team due to injury. Fans are already accustomed to the constant “breakdowns” of Eugene and waited for the “old man” in line for the new season. But closer to the fall, it turned out that 2021 was over for Malkin.
Here is a little chronicle of the fall: the attacker injured his knee in March, missed six weeks and aggravated the problem in the first meeting after returning. In the summer, the Pittsburgh star had to go to bed for surgery, no one knew the timing of recovery. And then it became scary for Malkin: since 2009 he has not spent a single (!) Full season, and now he has run into serious damage. At 35 years old. So is the prospect for Pittsburgh, which dreams of former glory.
The age player’s contract with the club runs until the end of the 2021/22 season, Gino’s salary is about $ 9.5 million per season. The previous season, Malkin failed (8 goals and 20 assists in 33 games), so the current “regular” was the last chance to work to extend the agreement. But the striker’s injury complicated the situation, the parties could not sit down at the negotiating table. Therefore, Malkin had only one option left – to recover and get back to the level of 10 years ago. It sounded like a sentence.
“I do not think about money. I’m already a pretty rich guy. “
January came, Gino finally came out on the ice. And immediately put a double in the gates of “Anaheim”! He slowly regained his former form, experienced a recession (six games without points in early March), coped with the game depression and continued to enchant. Now the striker has 16 goals and 17 assists in 31 matches, and his series of results has reached 5 matches in a row.
“I do not think about the contract and the money. I’m already quite a rich guy, “- said Eugene commented on rumors of a new agreement in December. But his confident performance could not fail to impress the bosses of the “penguins”: according to media reports, there has been progress in the negotiations. Most likely, Gino will go for a salary reduction, but the contract will definitely be re-signed. And if you think that the political situation will somehow affect this, then you are wrong.
Malkin has American citizenship, and Pittsburgh supports him
Anti-Russian sanctions will not hit our Enkhaelovites in any way. First, they bring a lot of money to the treasury of leagues and clubs. Despite their age, players like Malkin, Ovechkin, etc. still important to local business. That is a fact. And although the Russians demanded the removal of even the great Gretzkis and Hasek, no one listened to them.
Second, some Russian stars have American citizenship. Malkin is among them. Although the Pittsburgh striker has joined the Putin Team, the sanctions can only affect his non-hockey business projects. And it’s hard to believe, because Malkin earns a living exclusively in the United States.
In addition, Eugene did not make any statements about the special operation and stopped talking to the press on February 24. And most importantly, the team is on his side. “We had a conversation with Gino about it. He knows we fully support him because he is part of the Pittsburgh family. These are very difficult circumstances, it is not his fault. Sport suffers from this, ”said Penguin head coach Mike Sullivan.
Supporting the team is the most important thing that can happen to Eugene right now. He has always been a mood player, his sight can go astray at any moment. And only friendly relations in the team help Malkin to focus and prepare for the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh have almost guaranteed their participation in the playoffs, so Gino still has time to work out all his skills.
Malkin needs a record for the number of Stanley Cups. This will be his final chord
Eugene’s career is an amazing thing. The forward won three Stanley Cups and became the first Russian winner of the Conn Smart Trophy (prize for the best playoff player). But he will never eclipse the same Ovechkin, although he has many more trophies.
Injuries have done their job – Malkin will not come close to the legendary individual records. Only he has other tasks. For example, take the fourth Stanley Cup in his career. If that happens, Pittsburgh’s 71st number will be the first Russian with so many championship rings.
There is another big difference between Gino and Ovi: if Alexander is considered №1 in the team, then the “penguins” have two of the greatest hockey players – Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Their era is gradually coming to an end, without them Pittsburgh will be a completely different mechanism. And to put a beautiful point, Eugene wants to go another championship in the NHL playoffs. So why not babble in the end and repeat the achievements of 2009, 2016 and 2017.