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Old 08-22-2006, 06:46 AM   #38
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Default Re: Penguins pick Malkin skates out on his Russian club

Agent: Malkin looking to opener

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Evgeni Malkin skated again with several NHL players Monday at the Los Angeles Kings' practice rink, and his agent said he was optimistic the 20-year-old hockey star will soon become a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"This is why we're here," Pat Brisson said. "We're going to do everything in our power to help him reach his goal — to be playing with the Penguins on opening night."

Malkin, considered one of the best players in the world not playing in the NHL, left his Russian Super League team earlier this month during its training camp in Helsinki, Finland, because of his desire to join the Penguins.

"He wants to follow his dream, he wants to play in the NHL," Brisson said, adding Malkin is in good hockey shape and was skating Monday for the third time since arriving in the Los Angeles area last Wednesday.

Brisson said he hasn't discussed a contract with the Penguins yet.

"Once we decide it's the right time to move forward, it shouldn't be a problem," the agent said. "He could be here another 10 days."

Malkin did not speak with reporters Monday.

"Due to the legality and the situation we're in, it's a little sensitive," Brisson said.

Brisson works for Creative Artists Agency, which represents about 60 NHL players. He is working with lawyers to determine when Malkin can join the Penguins, who made him the second overall selection in the 2004 NHL draft.

Within hours of Malkin leaving his team, his agents faxed a letter of resignation to the Metallurg team. Under Russian law, Malkin can quit his job by giving two weeks' notice, even if he is under contract.

Once the two-week period is up, it is believed Malkin can sign an entry-level, three-year contract with the Penguins that could be worth close to $1 million a year, plus as much as $2.8 million a year in incentives.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero issued a statement last Thursday saying the team looks forward to meeting with Malkin and his representatives "to discuss what can be a very bright future with the Pittsburgh Penguins."

The NHL has not publicly stated any support for Malkin, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said the league believes any player should have the right to choose where he wants to play as long as he is legally free to do so.

Brisson said Malkin went to the beach Sunday, and will work out Tuesday and Thursday with T.R. Goodman, a personal trainer who trains most of the NHL players represented by CAA.

"He's here to work, acclimate himself," Brisson said.
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