Don’t expect me in KHL any time soon – Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeny Malkin says he enjoys playing in the NHL and has no plans of making his return to Russian hockey.

­RT caught up with the 2009 Stanley Cup winner, revealing his views…

…on the Pens’ 2011 Stanley Cup play-offs:

“They fought hard, making it to the playoffs without Sidney Crosby and myself – taking a 3:1 series lead against Tampa. But in the last three games, we maybe relaxed too much or ran out of steam, and then lost the seventh game. It was devastating to go down in the decider, especially, at home. On the other hand, Tampa proved a very tough team and made it to the conference finals. So I think we lost with dignity.”

…on life in Pittsburgh:

“When I was drafted by Pittsburgh, I was glad. The team won the Stanley Cup in my third year there. Another thing is the nightlife doesn’t really compare to Moscow or New York, so you can easily focus on hockey. You come home and just go to bed and have a good sleep. They opened a casino not long ago, so there’s now a place to have fun sometimes. But on the whole, Pittsburgh is cut out for devoting yourself to hockey, and that’s great.”

…on Sidney Crosby:

“He’s a very friendly guy, without any ego, even though he’s such a great player who’s won every major trophy at such a young age. He helps me a lot in the US, and we’re in touch all the time. We feel no envy towards each other. Sid is simply an idol for the fans and I’m always happy when he wins awards.”

…on Sergey Gonchar:

“It was brilliant to have Sergey nearby. We became good friends. I stayed at his place at first and I got to know his family well. He’s a great player and was one of our key men when we won the Stanley Cup. So it’s a pity that he and the club couldn’t reach agreement over a new contract. But that’s hockey. Everybody gets new opportunities or changes teams every so often. I can only wish Sergey the best of luck.”

…on Mario Lemieux:

“He’s won so many awards, and had so many injuries, but surprisingly he’s still the same as he was at the age of 18. He invites us to his place for dinner and talks to players in the locker-room. He doesn’t just support Sid and me, but the entire team. He always travels with us to games.”

…on his friends:

“I miss them. I still don’t have such friends here in America that I have in Russia: people I grew up with, people I’ve known for years, went to hockey training with. I’ve recently bought a house in Moscow, now my friends can visit me more often, so it feels a bit better for me. Otherwise, I’m generally content with everything.”  

… and, finally, on a possible move to the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League):

“I’m turning 25 soon and I’m not sure if I want to return in the near future, rather more likely in five or 10 years. Many players like Jagr and Fedorov moved to the KHL. Who knows, the KHL may one day become stronger than the NHL, so all the top players might move to Europe. I am not really on top of all the goings-on at home now, so I can’t really judge how fast the KHL is growing. Certain progress is apparent though – there is even a 24-hour TV channel to broadcast ice-hockey, with interviews and more coverage of the game. As a result, attendance at matches has grown, it seems.”

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