Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cannonball Run: Malkin's Mission

To the surprise of no one, Evgeni Malkin landed in North America on Thursday after being holed-up in an apartment in Helsinki for a while when he was waiting for a work visa in the States. I guess in his time there, he took the Alexander Mogilny approach to come into the NHL. For the time being at least, the situation is cooling down. However, the fact of the matter is the off-ice issues are already in full swing.

Outside of the fact that Malkin still needs to be signed, there's a high chance Metallurg will use their legal team to get an injunction of some sorts to block Malkin from playing. Whether or not it will hold up is another thing entirely. I'm sure that the Russian club will make it as hard a possible for the Penguins to get Malkin on the ice in their jersey.....or they think that at least.

However, for all the comments about Russia signing the transfer agreement and be happy with any money gotten, there's plenty of comments talking about how he's not worth the trouble and may be overrated. Granted, some Penguins fans feel that this is the new era for the team......though they said that about Sidney Crosby and M-A Fleury, but they haven't turned the team around in the least.

I can see where the Russian clubs are coming from though. Malkin was brought up through the Metallurg school and was the face of the Russian elite league. For a guy like that, you want top dollar for him because having him there is almost a license to print money. Metallurg wants to get the money that he would bring in and what he would make for future earnings. I'm sure other club teams who play Metallurg would want to have the attendance bank too. To get only $200k for him isn't the fair market value for someone like that.

Yet, the labor law in Russia was the Russian Federation's own worst enemy. You can bet that something will change now that three players have now used that rule to their advantage to get out of their contracts. Some could see it as pretty craptastic, especially after the player signed a contract, but the law is the law.

When Vladislav Tretiak came to be the Russian Federation President, he said one of his top priorites was to get something signed to have a fair deal with the NHL. It obviously hasn't happened, but you can be that once Malkin suits up in the NHL, something will get signed, fair deal or not.

EDIT 7:30 ET-- According to our friends at the Russian Hockey Digest, Metallurg's lawyers have said that Evgeni Malkin's faxed resignation is unacceptable because some lines are illegible and may not have been written by Malkin. The fun has started, kids.

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