Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Malkin is in da houuuse!

Okay. Sure it seems like things are going to have a happy ending, but what if the Penguins contend this year and the Russians decide to challenge the validity of the NHL/Penguins contract. Magnitogorsk Metallurg and the Russian league promised revenge and it was a threat that I interpreted as very serious.

So, Malkin signed this morning and will be introduced later in a press conference. Everybody will clap and cheer. Sergei Gonchar will get a new roommate supposedly. But the message that I get from the drive-by media and the Penguins fans is that the Malkin signing is a new chapter to the franchise. They are already talking about the Penguins being instant playoff contenders - hoping to be just good enough to sneak into the 8th and final playoff spot this season.

This is really welcomed as fresh air of optimism for a franchise that has had a perpetual one foot out the door. I cant help but be pessimistic about this situation. When will this get screwed up? Penguins fans should be accustomed to the rug getting pulled out from under.
Mr. Malkin's deal is patterned after one signed by Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, who was claimed first -- one spot ahead of Mr. Malkin -- in the 2004 entry draft. Reports out of Washington have placed the potential value of that contract as high as $3.83 million annually.
Sure the numbers look familiar, but everybody in the drive-by media is hoping that the play is similar to Crosby.

Only time will tell when the Russians decide to throw some cold water on the wet dream of a potent lineup of young superstars. Will the Russians decide to drag Malkin to court right at a critical time in the season like a playoff qualifying game? Will they decide to shakedown the Penguins for more money?

Plenty of questions that still need answered.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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