Хроника Хоккея


Russia's Malkin a rare breed
27.12.2005. Kingston, Gary. The Gazette.

 No. 2 NHL pick in '04. Dazzling combination of toughness, vision, size and soft hands

Evgeni Malkin has been billed as the best player not in the National Hockey League.

Before the Russian teen gets there - reportedly next season with the salivating Pittsburgh Penguins, who took him No. 2 overall in the 2004 draft - someone might want to explain to him about the league's post-lockout edict to players to be more media friendly and accessible. Malkin declined an interview request after the Russian's pregame skate before their opening game of the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship against Sweden.

Apparently, not talking the day of the game is one of his "superstitions," although a Russian team official acknowledged the hype surrounding the blue-chip prospect is a pressure Malkin might not be comfortable with.

The hype is not without foundation. Scouts say Malkin possesses a rare combination of size, toughness, vision and soft hands.

The big, strong centre - he's listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, but appears taller and heavier - was a late arrival in Canada as he finished up pre-Christmas commitments to Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the Russian Super Elite League team for which he plays.

Malkin, 19, leads the men's league in scoring with 15 goals and 20 assists in 32 games for first-place Magnitogorsk. For that reason, he is expected to dominate at the worlds for an experienced Russian team that will dress 18 19-year-olds.

In an interview on rushockey.com 10 days ago, Gennady Velichkin, Magnitogorsk's general director, said Russian hockey officials were "taking a risk" of burning Malkin out by tabbing him for the world juniors and the Olympic team while he also tries to lead Magnitogorsk to a title.

"I'm not talking about his physical condition," said Velichkin, who clearly isn't happy to see his key player being pulled about. "I'm talking about the emotional part, psychological pressure will overflow. And perhaps Penguins representatives will sit on Evgeni with their promises about beautiful overseas life."

In the Steel City?

In a recent television clip from Russia, Malkin said it was "too bad" the Penguins - who can't wait to have Malkin and Sidney Crosby in the same lineup - are struggling this season.

"But I think there are a lot of young players and next year or in two years, they'll have a real line and they'll play better and be at the top of the rankings."

Malkin, selected after countryman Alexander Ovechkin went No. 1 in the 2004 draft, might not possess the exuberant flair of the dynamic Washington Capitals rookie, but he is exceptionally skilled and a terrific competitor who plays a strong two-way game.

Malkin said he's benefited from having Dave King, the one-time NHL and Canadian Olympic team coach, as his coach in Magnitogorsk. King uses his young star on the power-play and penalty kill, and Malkin says that trust and confidence "gives me inspiration."

King said there is plenty to like about Malkin, most notably his tremendous anticipation that, combined with a long reach, makes him a top-notch defensive player. And he said Malkin is

always trying to improve his game, noting that he's often the first one on the ice in practice and one of the last to leave.

During yesterday's mostly leisurely pregame skate, Malkin's puck- handling skills were clearly evident, particularly when the Russians were working on their power play.

"I feel that I'm growing, maturing, gaining experience," Malkin said in an interview with Ves Hokkei newspaper that was translated on rushockey.com. "With Dave King as our coach, we play more NHL- like hockey. It's faster and more like they play in the NHL."

Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2006 года
Подгруппа А - подробнее
Канада, США, Финляндия, Швейцария, Норвегия
Подгруппа В - подробнее
Россия, Чехия, Швеция, Словакия, Латвия
За 7-10 места - подробнее
Швейцария, Словакия, Латвия, Норвегия
1/4 финала - подробнее
Швеция - Финляндия
США - Чехия
1/2 финала - подробнее
Канада - Финляндия
Россия - США
Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Швеция - Чехия
За 3 место. Финляндия - США
За 1 место. Канада - Россия
Страничка статистики

Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2006 года.