Sep 14, 2012, 12:42 PM EDT
Here’s a development that speaks volumes about the current state of labor relations…
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar are currently practicing with KHL club Metallurg Magnitigorsk and are “likely” to play in their first regular season game on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Rumors of the ex-Pittsburgh mates reuniting in Russia broke in early September, when the Ottawa Citizen reported Gonchar had a “standing offer” from Metallurg.
When Malkin received the Hart Trophy at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas in June, he dedicated it to Gonchar. Malkin said that when he joined the Penguins as a rookie in 2006-07, Gonchar served as mentor, translator and cultural adviser.
“He took care of me,” Malkin said in his acceptance speech. “He’s a great guy and an unbelievable player. He’s my best friend here.”
Gonchar also played alongside Malkin with Metallurg Magnitogorsk during the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
The KHL season got underway on Sept. 4, and Metallurg has already played four games (posting a 1-1-2 record). The team boasts a number of players with NHL experience including Cal O’Reilly, Oleg Tverdovsky and Enver Lisin.
It should be noted that, as the NHL lockout became more likely, the KHL released a set of qualifications for incoming NHLers during the work stoppage:
– 150 NHL games played over the last three seasons
– Must have previous KHL experience
– A national team member in one of the last two World Championships, World Junior Championships, or Olympic teams
– A Stanley Cup winner or finalist or an NHL award winner of another kind
Malkin and Gonchar obviously fit the bill, and now one has to wonder what other qualified players might head to Russia once the lockout becomes official.
- Ducks hold off spirited Stars comeback, take 1-0 series lead 1
- Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead with overtime win 7
- Penguins outlast Blue Jackets, take Game 1 26
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers 79
- Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup 36
- PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? 57
- 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks 35
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 10
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 42
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 26
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers (79)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? (57)