Skip to content

After Kovalchuk retirement, Malkin calls NHL ‘my priority’

Aug 1, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

MalkinKovalchuk

If there was ever any thought Evgeni Malkin might leave the National Hockey League for a return to Russia, he wiped it out on Thursday.

“Why would I look for something else? I have everything,” Malkin told Russian news outlet R-Sport. “[The NHL is] my priority.”

The 27-year-old Pittsburgh star was asked about his future after fellow Russian Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the league by retiring at age 30, with 14 years and $77 million remaining on his deal with the Devils.

Many suggested Kovalchuk was the latest, albeit highest-profile, example of the Russian exodus.

Winnipeg’s Alex Burmistrov also returned to Russia this summer, as did Nashville’s Sergei Kostitsyn (though, to be accurate, Kostistyn is Belarusian and returned to the KHL — not his home country.) Ruslan Fedotenko, who is Ukrainian, left the NHL to sign with HC Donbass, a KHL team located in his native country.

Malkin wanted to make one thing abundantly clear: Kovalchuk’s retirement wasn’t indicative of any trend, but rather a unique development.

“Ilya’s chosen this path, and I’ve got no right to judge him,” he explained. “They’re saying that this will become a trend, but it’s really an exception to the rule.”

Player agent Mark Gandler — who represents Burmistrov — earlier echoed Malkin’s sentiment, saying each decision is made independently and has nothing to do with an overall trend.

“I don’t think it’s an epidemic or anything like that,” Gandler told the Canadian Press. “I think each person makes his decision based on the circumstances that he’s in, based on his environment, his family, his upbringing.”

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Lightning-Rangers game gets heated in final minutes

    May 22, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT

    Lightning-Rangers skirmish

    Kucherov, Paquette, and Glass all receive misconduct penalties.

  2. Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4

    May 22, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The score was one-sided, but this game could have gone the other way if not for the Rangers’ netminder.

  3. Video: Slumping Nash charges hard to net, puts Rangers ahead

    May 22, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT

    Nash goal

    Will we see more goals like that from him before the playoffs are over?

  4. Yzerman, Sather, Murray finalists for GM of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Steve Yzerman AP

    All three of their teams are still in the running for the Stanley Cup.

  5. Lowry emerging as darkhorse candidate for Sharks gig

    May 22, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT

    Dave Lowry Getty Images

    San Jose has been linked to several high profile coaches.

  6. Detroit assistant Hiller to join Babcock in Toronto

    May 22, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    He was credited with turning around the Red Wings’ power play.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final

    May 22, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Nikita Kucherov, Ryan McDonagh AP

    Will New York be able to contain Tampa Bay this time around?

  8. Blackhawks need more ‘quick plays’ to crack Anaheim’s structure

    May 22, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Three Getty Images

    Not only did the Ducks block 27 shots last night, they clogged up the neutral zone too.

  9. Benning trying to figure where Markstrom ‘fits in’

    May 22, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Canucks GM witnessed the goalie get a shutout in the AHL playoffs.

  10. TVR won’t play Game 4, but he’s ‘cleared to participate’

    May 22, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT

    Trevor van Riemsdyk Getty Images

    Coach Q: “He’ll need a few days out here. We’ll get an evaluation and go from there.”

  11. ’16 Draft prospect Bellows, son of Brian, wins USHL Rookie of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT

    Bellows

    Son of ex-NHLer Brian is off to Boston University next year.

  12. Video: Emotional Babcock says good-bye to Detroit

    May 22, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Babcock

    “It’s been real special, to say the least.”

  13. Columbus goalie prospect Dansk bolts for Sweden

    May 22, 2015, 12:47 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets

    The third ‘tender taken at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft had a rough first pro season in North America.

  14. Wild re-sign AHL Iowa assists leader Keranen

    May 22, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Petteri Lindbohm, Michael Keranen Getty Images

    Finnish forward joined the organization last year after solid production in the SM-liiga.

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Versteeg (1355)
  2. H. Lundqvist (1353)
  3. P. Kane (1289)
  4. S. Stamkos (1268)
  5. C. Crawford (1253)