Friday, June 20, 2008

Geno's Not Going To Russia

Poor Geno. Everyone in the media seems ready to put him on the next train and ship him out of Pittsburgh. This morning, I was greeted by emails with links to this article from
Russia's Continental Hockey League is hoping to make Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin the world's highest-paid hockey player to the tune of $15 million per season according to a Toronto newspaper.

That's a lot of freaking cash!!!

According to the Toronto Star, several teams in Russia's revamped hockey league are prepared to offer Malkin a multi-year deal worth $12.5 million a season. The offer would be equivalent to at least a $15 million per year in the NHL, where players have to pay state (or provincial) and federal taxes.
$15 million a year?!! I don't think any one of us would have blamed him if he'd chosen to go after that kind of cash. But there's one problem: The IIHL has just released a statement saying, in short, that the offer was NOT made to Geno and this story is just B.S. (from the Pens' website):
Although the International Ice Hockey Federation does not usually issue statements following unsubstantiated media reports, the IIHF finds it principally important to address the newspaper story (Toronto Star, June 20) that reports about the Russian league allegedly preparing an offer to Pittsburgh Penguin player Evgeni Malkin, who is under contract with the NHL-club.

Geno scores in Russia. Imagine actually seeing this in person. AMAZING!

...we are confident that the report is not substantiated.
There you have it. No matter what anyone in the media says, I continue to believe that Geno won't be going anywhere. If - I said IF, people! - a trade was in Geno's future, I can't possibly imagine a good enough reason why Ray Shero would do it this summer. I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that Shero would give up one of the best players in the world while he still costs under $1 million per year.

Where you goin'? Nowhere!

I'm not trying to poke any bears here, but I would think if Shero was looking for a way to save some room in the salary cap by unloading a center, he might want to look at trading Jordan Staal. (See? This is why I'm glad I'm not Mr. Shero!) Don't get me wrong - I like Staal well enough and he's a freaking beast on the penalty kill, but if money is going to be an issue, I'd MUCH rather part with the Gronk than Geno. Staal is good - good enough to demand millions. But Geno is elite. Without Geno and Ty Conklin, the Pens wouldn't have had a snowball's chance at even getting into the playoffs. And up until the Stanley Cup Finals, Geno along with the dynamic duo of Sid and Marian Hossa were the team's offensive one-two punch. If I was Shero, I'd be doing everything in my power to keep both Hossa and Malkin right now. And my bet is that he's doing just that.

I took this at the 04-02-08 Pens v Flyers game.

Now to lighten the mood a bit, our main man finds himself in TWO top 10 lists today! :) He came in at number 6 in the Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Athletes of 2008. (Noticeably absent - one hockey-hating golfer named Tiger.) The Saint earned the top spot in's Top 10: Athletes Under 21. Another great thing about the AskMen list: three spots are occupied by NHL'ers! :)

He tops our list!

Thanks go out to Friends of The Show Aisha V. and Vanny V. for the Sportsnet link, Daily Su for the Pens' website link, and to commenter Alyssa for the WSJ link.

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