Saturday, January 28, 2006


Evgeni Malkin Interview

Joeri of sent me this translated interview of Penguins star prospect Evgeni Malkin as originally conducted by Pavel Savchik (Sport Express Newspaper).

One thing I love about European interviews is that they tend to be more direct and will ask the 'harder' questions. Reporters and writers in the NHL world tend to write big, but ask small. Of course, European reporters tend to also try and provote players into saying something controversial, since players tend to be more vocal and opinionated in Europe than in North America.

How upsetting was it for you to lose the final game against Canada again?

E. Malkin: It is always tough to lose the final game. We had enough scoring chances that we didn’t convert to turn the game around. Couple of times we just didn’t get lucky. Though, generally speaking, the team performed pretty good at the tournament. As we were planning to end up in the final, so we did. But in these kind of games like the final against Canada many things depend on luck. Though, I have to admit that the opponents were strong that night.

Have you had a chance to analyze this loss on your way home?

E. Malkin: We underestimated Canadians a little bit, and were not well prepared for the final. I don’t know why, but we didn’t even watch any tapes of the opponent’s games. The final game is special and needs extra attention and seriousness.

Therefore, the coaching stuff is guilty in this loss to Canadian team?

E. Malkin: You misunderstood me. Players that were on the ice are guilty as well, including me. Now, looking back at that game, I see the mistakes that we made, but oh well, what’s the reason to wave the fists after the fight….

What can you say about your personal performance in the final game?

E. Malkin: I didn’t show everything that I can. Throughout entire tournament Canadians played well against leaders of the opposing teams. They just didn’t allow me to breathe, “choked” me right when I was receiving the puck. I didn’t even have enough time to receive the puck, and look around. Canadians didn’t have stars in their lineup, such as Sidney Crosby who they had last year, but everyone knew exactly what to do on the ice.

People still don’t know why the referee didn’t count the goal when the score was 0:2. Could this goal have affected the game?

E. Malkin: For sure this goal would have given us confidence, and the opponent would have gotten nervous. As the captain I came to the referee, and he explained that none of the cameras caught the moment when the puck crossed the line. We couldn’t prove anything; even Lemtyugov didn’t see if the puck crossing the line.

But you can’t blame the referee for this loss: two goals were scored as the results of bad mistakes…

E. Malkin: Yes, that’s true. There was my fault in the first goal, when I didn’t finish my defensive play. Radulov made a mistake on the second goal…

After the final whistle you cried…

E. Malkin: Yes (smiling). I wanted to get the gold, but it turned out to be some kind of mystery, as last year…

How would you grade your performance at this tournament?

E. Malkin: I think all of the games, except the final, I played at my usual level. But the last touch ended up being blurry.

Do you think you succeeded in the captain’s role?

E. Malkin: I don’t know, you better ask others. In a locker room I tried to cheer up my partners, and tried to lead the team on the ice.

Did anyone from Pittsburgh talk to you during the tournament in British Columbia?

E. Malkin: Only my agent called me and told me that Mario Lemieux is watching me on TV, and very satisfied with my performance. Also, Sidney Crosby called me wishing best of luck.

Aren’t you afraid that the loss in the final game would affect you psychologically in your performance in your club and the Olympic team?

E. Malkin: Don’t worry, everything is OK. Hopefully, my appearance on the team will not worsen team’s performance (smiling). And then, we are going to pay back to Canadians in Turin. I will live with these thoughts for this month.


Speaking of the Olympics, has an Olympic News Tracker which you can use to keep apprised of the goings-on for Turin.

Oh, there is also a Team Canada preview which I wrote.

I think the opening up by Europeans has been less and less recently, mostly due to translations over the net. They used to say whatever they felt like knowing it had little chance of making it back here. It's not so anymore and many European interviews are starting to get the same generic answers that we get over here. I think it has a lot more to do with the environment than the press itself.
I don't think there are any 'harder' questions there than anyone would have asked. NHLers are just getting extremely good at giving canned answers, regardless of the question.
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