Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin didn't have much of an offseason after winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in his career and with preparations underway to represent Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in September.
Injuries limited Malkin to 57 games last season, but he returned for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had 18 points in 23 games to help the Penguins win the Cup. He also led Pittsburgh to a championship in 2009, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after finishing with 14 goals and 36 points in 24 games.
Extra time off probably would have been beneficial for Malkin's body, but he's excited for another chance to represent Russia at the World Cup. The tournament will be held at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1. Team Russia will play its first game on Sept. 18 against Team Sweden (3 p.m. ET; ESPN).
"These have all been very positive emotions, so they do not interfere," Malkin said Tuesday. "Every player can only dream of a short summer like mine. When you win the Stanley Cup, you just don't have any regrets, you enjoy every single day. You only feel positive emotions, and those are the ultimate pleasures. [The] short summer did not hurt me. I think, I am in pretty good shape."
Video: PIT@SJS, Gm6: Malkin talks about winning second Cup
Malkin most recently represented Russia at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, when he helped Russia win the silver medal. He had five goals and five assists in nine games.
A native of Magnitogorsk, Russia, Malkin has earned 10 medals playing for Russia, three of them gold (2012 and 2014 World Championships, and the 2004 World Under-18 Championship). A three-time Olympian (2006, 2010, 2014), Malkin was named the MVP of the 2012 World Championship and the 2006 World Junior Championship.
He's hoping to add to his gold medal collection next month.
"Each victory slowly fills this void," Malkin said. "Every time you get a chance to defend the colors of your national team in any international tournament, whether it's the World championship, the Olympic Games or the World Cup, it's a great honor."
Malkin declined to share his thoughts on Team Russia's decision to leave Montreal Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov off its roster. Radulov has spent the past four seasons with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League and had 23 goals and 42 assists in 53 games last season. Oleg Znarok will coach Team Russia.
Video: SJS@PIT, Gm5: Malkin banks it past Jones for PPG
"It is the head coach's job to name the roster," Malkin said. "He has his own vision in that regard, which I can't influence. I have my opinion, but I won't share it publicly. Alexander is a very strong player. I don't know, maybe they had a conflict of some kind. The roster is what it is, and we'll try to make the best of it."
One of Malkin's teammates at the World Cup, center Pavel Datsyuk, is returning to Russia after the tournament to play in the KHL. Datsyuk, 38, was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 and played for them from 2001-2016.
But Malkin, who turned 30 on July 31, is under contract with the Penguins through the 2021-22 season and has no intentions of returning to Russia anytime soon.
"I'm a bit younger, so I'm not trying to look that far ahead," Malkin said. "I don't have any such thoughts. I'm thinking about the World Cup, about the upcoming NHL season. I have a contract to fulfill."