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Transcript: Malkin Russian Radio Interview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins launched “NHL in Russian,” a Russian-language radio show, on Tuesday, Nov. 24. It will air each Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Pittsburgh time (4:30 p.m. Moscow time) on the Penguins’ new HD radio station, 105.9 HD-2, and be streamed live on www.pittsburghpenguins.com and www.nhl.com. Following is a full transcript of an interview with Penguins’ center Evgeni Malkin from the debut show. Click here for the 'NHL in Russian' page.


George Birman: Welcome to the program. The first Russian Radio Show is proud to have our first guest, a very famous guest...

Evgeni Malkin: Keep talking George.

BIRMAN: I wanted to take the time right now to list all the awards that he's won.

MALKIN: You can make some up if you'd like.

BIRMAN: Yes, I think I'll add some. He started in the NHL in 2006, the same year he won the Calder Trophy. He's won the Art Ross Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy. He's won the Stanley Cup!

Alyonka Larionov: Well, that's the most important one.

BIRMAN: Yes, the most important.

MALKIN: When do I get my applause?

BIRMAN: He was a part of the All-Star Game. For two years he was the best player for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a two-time bronze winner of the World Championships…Evgeni Malkin!

ALYONKA: Applause

MALKIN: Louder, louder!

ALYONKA: I think the best part is that…

MALKIN: Is that I'm the best looking?

ALYONKA: Well, that's a given. You're the best looking in Pittsburgh. (The best part is) that all your fans all over the world are able to listen to you right now.

MALKIN: Is the show already over? Am I supposed to say bye now? Until next time? I wanted to wish everyone the best health because right now it seems like health is a big issue. To all my fans, thank you for your constant support. And I'm really happy to have you.

BIRMAN: Geno, this is the first episode.

MALKIN: No, no, my first assist was in 2006 on the ice (Note: peredacha means both episode and assist in Russian).

BIRMAN: First episode of NHL in Russian, the radio show. What do you think about this show? What's your opinion?

MALKIN: Well, I think this is a great idea first off. I know I have a lot of friends and fans that live in Moscow and other cities that are interested in the game of hockey and the NHL overall, and it would be interesting for them to listen to the show whether it be in their car or wherever, to hear news about games or their favorite players, Ovechkin or Kovalchuk. And I'm really happy to be a part of the this show and I'd like to continue to be a part of it if you'll invite me again.

All: Of course.

Oleg Mejeritski: We'll have you for every show.

MALKIN: How often does this come out again?

MEJERITSKI: (laughing) Everyday!

MALKIN: Everyday? And every day there will be different players?

ALYONKA: Yes, we'll have many guests. Actually, our second guest will be Igor Larionov.

MALKIN: Is he coming here?

ALYONKA: No, we'll be speaking with him on the phone. He's very busy.
So let's first talk about hockey. Oleg has a couple questions for you.

MEJERITSKI: Yes, last season became the best season for you and the team.

MALKIN: I'm hoping it's not the last one.

MEJERITSKI: Of course not. Remember the playoffs last year, when was the time that you felt you had a chance to win the Cup? Was there a certain game, day, month?

MALKIN: Well it's hard to remember but for me, the moment where I thought we could win the Cup was our first game against Detroit because when we played last year, they had an obvious advantage over our game and it was tough to play against them. But this year starting with the first minute, the first shift, even though we lost the game we could tell that we didn't give up anything and didn't let them have their way. In shots, in our game, we were even more refreshed than them and I think during that game I felt that we can definitely battle against Detroit and we have an amazing chance to win.

MEJERITSKI: Go back to the 7th game against Detroit. It's 2-1. You're winning. Were those the longest six minutes of your life?

MALKIN: Yes, they must have been. You're right. I was sitting on the bench and it was as if everything was in slow motion and ‘Flower,’ although he saw the puck, somehow it went in to make it 2-1 and you look up at the clock and it says 6:50.

MEJERITSKI: Wow, you even remember the exact seconds?

MALKIN: Yeah, approximate. After each line change, you're constantly looking back up at the clock and it seemed like forever and thank God it was all over and we won.

ALYONKA: I have to ask you, when you won and everyone runs out onto the ice, was there someone you jumped on first? On Gonchar? Fleury?

MALKIN: I think I jumped on everyone. But I think towards Fleury. Everyone was skating towards Fleury and not me! I just kept thinking that everyone was going to skate towards me! But yeah, we all had this group jumping on top of each other.

BIRMAN: Yes, you guys were like kids and the look on your face was like you won it all, you had the ultimate success. All the suffering was over.

MALKIN: Well of course, for many it was their first Cup. For me, it was my first 'first-place’ trophy. I've lost for Championships and in Russia. It's hard to explain. We could have won last year, but we didn't so a big thank you to the team for keeping it together and winning the ultimate Cup.

BIRMAN: Who did you call first?

MALKIN: I called my parents. I went back to the locker room and I looked at my Russian phone and I saw all these messages.

MEJERITSKI: Right now is where you leave your number so all the fans can write you.

MALKIN: Hopefully they'll write when we win again. I had so many texts and calls and messages and it was hard to write everyone back and say thank you. Like Alyonka said, it was a busy time.

MEJERITSKI: Real quick, let's return to game 7 and the last faceoff. What were the emotions running through you?

MALKIN: I remember when there were 18 seconds left and the faceoff was in center ice. I thought that was still enough to get a goal. But when there were six seconds left in our zone, I thought there’s no way they can score in six seconds. There’s no way and we had to win the faceoff. Immediately we lose the faceoff and there are two, three shots towards our net and it was all like slow motion But I kept believing and maybe our belief was the reason we won. I just kept believing they weren't going to score that goal and that we were going to win.

MEJERITSKI: After the game, did you have the feeling that you'd win the playoff MVP?

MALKIN: Well of course, thoughts like that run through your head and it's always very nice to hear but all my thoughts were about Game 7 and winning. So yeah, it crossed my mind but winning and the Cup was No. 1 on my mind.

ALYONKA: Let's...

MALKIN: Ok, let's.

ALYONKA: Let's talk about the Stanley Cup.

MALKIN: What is that?

ALYONKA: When we came back to Pittsburgh, there was a huge parade. How was it for you to be a part of that, riding through the streets with that many fans around you? I think 100,000?

BIRMAN: More than 300,000.

MALKIN: You were off by a little there.

MEJERITSKI: Yeah a little, around 200,000.

ALYONKA: How was that for you? What were your feelings? And that the MVP trophy was with you.

MALKIN: I definitely didn't expect that. We started a little bit outside of downtown where we got into our cars and there were a few people, and a few fans and you thought that that was it. But then we went into downtown and all I could say was 'wow' because I've never seen that many people. On rooftops, people were hanging out of windows and trees. It was crazy. And then I truly felt 'we actually won' My dream came true that I've been dreaming of since I was a kid of winning some kind of cup

ALYONKA: Some kind of cup?

MALKIN: Well then, yes, but now the most prized and amazing Cup. It was shocking.

ALYONKA: Can you tell me your favorite moment with Lord Stanley? Do you have one?

MALKIN: Probably on the ice. When Max Talbot handed me the Cup and I lifted it and then kissed it.

MEJERITSKI: You kissed Max?

MALKIN: And Max too! That was my favorite moment. Here he is!

ALYONKA: Here he is and he's mine?

MALKIN: Here he is and he's ours.

ALYONKA: The Olympics are coming up and Oleg has a couple questions about that.

MEJERITSKI: You were at the camp in August.

MALKIN: I only had one day there because I had the Cup the day before but yes, it was in August and all the guys came out and it was a lot of fun.  It was shocking that everyone came. Even from America just for those two days. It was so nice to see everyone together. There wasn't even a thought that someone wouldn't show up. Everyone was happy to work hard.

ALYONKA: Like friends?

MALKIN: Yeah and like a National Team and practicing together. A big thank you to the guys for coming together and for including me in this team.

MEJERITSKI: Did you meet some new guys that you hadn't known before? Or what player really made an impact on you?

MALKIN: It's hard to say that I didn't know anyone.

ALYONKA: He's a superstar! He knows everyone.

MEJERITSKI: Well, everyone knows you but maybe you didn't know someone before this camp?

MALKIN: I had never met (Simeon) Varlamov and now we met on the ice. So yes, there were some people I hadn't personally met but the hockey world is so small that with the three years I've played, I've pretty much met everyone, even all my heroes from my childhood.

MEJERITSKI: What is your relationship like with coaches of the National Team?

MALKIN: Well I think it's not only me, we all have very close relationships with our coaches and I know that they make sure to call us and to see how we are. It’s a friend type of relationship and its very nice. We have an amazing group of guys and with this group we don't have the option of losing. And so we have a big chance to win although I don't want to make predictions but it is all in our hands.

MEJERITSKI: Don't want to make any guarantees?

MALKIN: No one will give you a guarantee but you have to prove that you will win because of the group of people we have for our team this year, especially the coaching staff. It's their third season. They've been proving that with their hard work they are deserving to lead our country to the Olympics and go for the gold medal.

MEJERITSKI: Do the injuries play a part of any worries that you have for the Russian players that will be a part of this group?

MALKIN: It's hard to say. Sometimes injuries work in your favor, you have some time to rest.

MEJERITSKI: You're talking about yourself right now?

MALKIN: (laughs) Well, I had a good two weeks to pull myself together, but injuries are injuries. The most important thing is that they aren't around in February and we still have time and I think everyone will be ready by then. Maybe it's a good thing that there are injuries now and not later.

MEJERITSKI: Can you imagine yourself in the final game and you're at a faceoff with Sidney Crosby and in net is Fleury.

MALKIN: Well no but now that I think about it.

ALYONKA: Scary, right?

MALKIN: No, they're not scary. You can play against them like any other team. Even Fleury misses shots and Crosby sometimes doesn't score. So it's totally normal to think that I'll play against them and I will. And I hope this vision comes true where we're standing at the faceoff.

MEJERITSKI: So what if the final game will be ended by a shootout. Will you help your teammates on how to best beat Fleury in net.

ALYONKA: Of course!

MALKIN: Even women know the answer! Of course I'll help them out. Even Gonchar will help out since we know and we play on the same team. But it'll be a nerve-wrecking situation if that plays out. But the type of skilled players we have on our team, I think they know how to play against any goalie, those like Sergei Fedorov. I don't think you'd even want to tell them how to play. But if he asks, of course I'll try to help the best I can, especially in a deciding moment like that.

MEJERITSKI: Maybe you'll have the opportunity to check Crosby against the boards.

MALKIN: (laughing) And not only by the boards! I mean we laugh right now but when you're on a different team, even if it were Gonch playing against me on another team, I'm going to play against him like he's an opponent.

MEJERITSKI: We’ll make sure to let Gonch know.

MALKIN: Well he'll probably make it out to this show.

ALYONKA: But I think that that's what it is. It's a business of sorts.

BIRMAN: Yes, it's just how hockey is.

MALKIN: And if you're not playing 100 percent you're only making it harder for yourself.

BIRMAN: To play for the National Team is a pretty prestigious moment for you. Very important right? And Alex Ovechkin made a statement about playing for the games in Sochi, that no matter what he will be a part of that tournament. I don't know if you heard but where do you stand if NHL players will not be allowed to participate in their National Teams?

MALKIN: I'll say that we talked during the All Star games amongst the Russians and I think we all kind of came to the agreement that no matter what would happen we'd all come together to play for our country and our National Team. These Olympics are in Canada and all Canadians will be there to support their country. If we have the games in  Sochi and we don't show up, that’s not right. So we have to be there and I think we will be there. So from my side, Yes, I will be there.

Evgeni Malkin at practice
ALYONKA: So you agree with Alex?

MALKIN: 100 percent.

MEJERITSKI: This must be the only thing you agree on with Ovechkin.

MALKIN: Well everything else is a secret.

ALYONKA: OK, so I was born in Moscow but I've never been in Magnitogorsk.

MALKIN: Thank god. (laughing).

ALYONKA: Don't say that. It's still your birth place and where you grew up. Can you tell our listeners what you do there? What are your hobbies when you go home? Describe the city.

MALKIN: Well you said so yourself, I grew up there and so I love that city and it’s probably the most beautiful city and my favorite. What do I do there? Well, probably what everyone else does. I relax; I hang out with friends, go to the movies, play pool, we go fishing although the fish don't bite. Or maybe there are no more fish left.

MEJERITSKI: There must be no more fish.

BIRMAN: So you said you come home and you're with friends. Here’s my question. I met you four years ago when you came to America and we became friends. You were this normal, open, great person. Four years have passed, you've accomplished a lot, you've won many things.

MALKIN: Yes, keep going.

MEJERITSKI: And you've stayed the same. How is that? Where is that star factor? It's true. We can sit together as friends and talk about anything and it will always be a good time. How did you stay that way?

MALKIN: Well I'll probably have to say a big thank you to my parents. That is something they get the credit for. They raised me to be this way and they still give me advice. So thank you to them. They put me on the right track. I think it comes down to the way you were raised and then you carry that on in your life. I always listen to their advice. I'm sure I had a moment of stardom in my first team in Magnitogorsk but I was probably quickly brought back down to earth and understood very quickly that it's not about the fame or money because nothing good comes from that. I started to look at hockey and life differently.

ALYONKA: When you came here you first lived with the Gonchars. Do you think his knowledge of the game and the NHL, ways of living here, etc., do you think that helped you ?

MALKIN: Of course it helped. I think what Sergei did for me, it's hard to put a price on it. What he did for me. I think I will be forever in debt to him. I have to say thank you to him. Every day we talked and he'd explain everything to me and I think you all know what type of person Sergei is and how kind he is. Especially when my parents left for the first time, Sergei became like an older brother to me. And I looked up to him. Alyonka, you're right, he really helped me.

BIRMAN: When you lived with Sergei, you even learned how to act around kids. I've seen you play with Sergei's daughter.

MALKIN: Well, I love children, I always have. Even when I go back home to Magnitogorsk, I'm always playing with my friends kids. So it was nice to spend time with Natasha.

BIRMAN: Do you remember your first stadium and coach in Magnitogorsk?

MALKIN: First Arena was the ice outside. My parents first bought my brother and I tattered skates, well brand new skates then.  We came to the ice and my father played hockey and when we were young, we were always there day and night and then when we got old enough to play a part of a team, my parents signed me up for a local team for our age group. So everything kind of started there. My first coach was Yuri Tykaserev. Then they'd change quite often. But when I was around 7 or 8, Viktor Petrovich Vikman. he really started working with us until an older age. He gave me a lot in hockey and in life. I can say a lot about him. I still speak with him often and I can't thank him enough for everything he's done.

BIRMAN: It's great when people fulfill their dreams and become as famous as you are and still remember those people that helped them along the way.

ALYONKA: I think the coolest thing is that everything you just said, there's a chance that he heard it all on the radio.

MALKIN: Will this be playing in Magnitogorsk?

ALYONKA: Yes of course. OK, well I know time is running out for you.

MALKIN: Yes, I'd love to come back another day.

ALYONKA: We'll make sure to invite you back 100 times over but I want to ask you a couple quick questions for our female listeners who want to…

MALKIN: Who want me?

ALYONKA: Yes. Blonde or Brunette?

MALKIN: Blonde

ALYONKA: Why?

MALKIN: It's hard to say. When I look at a blonde I get more emotions inside of me.  I don't know why. I've had a brunette girlfriend before but blondes are No. 1 for me.

ALYONKA: What is the one quality you look for in a woman.

BIRMAN: What do you like the most?

MALKIN: It's hard to say just one quality.

MEJERITSKI: Love for hockey?

MALKIN: I guess support in everything in hockey and life.

ALYONKA: Well let's say we're going on our first date and I invite you over for dinner.

MALKIN: Me? When?

ALYONKA: What would you like for me to cook for you? Pierogies?

MALKIN: Well actually you've already invited me over for those!

ALYONKA: Yes, and they didn't turn out so well.

MEJERITSKI: Well, that was a very popular video. Everyone saw that.

MALKIN: Well of course, to laugh at us both here.

MEJERITSKI: Have you learned to cook? What's the next thing you two are going to cook? Because Alyonka can come over and cook for you.

ALYONKA: Well I can't do that because I obviously ruined the first date. He didn't like the pierogies.

MEJERITSKI: She's practiced!

BIRMAN: She's been studying and reading books, making notes.

MALKIN: So she lied to me last time. I don't know what the second dish should be. It should be much more challenging than folding dough. So maybe duck? Baked duck?

MEJERITSKI: Ok, we'll write it just like that, Bake a Duck.

BIRMAN: I think we're going to have to close out soon. Any last questions?

MEJERITSKI: In two words, what can you say about Pittsburgh for all the listeners in Russia who have never seen the city?

MALKIN: Many say that Pittsburgh isn't the greatest compared to New York but in my opinion it's a great city and there is absolutely everything anyone would need. We have beautiful bridges and I think we have the most out of any other city. We have beautiful rivers around downtown. When I drive to the arena at night, the view is beautiful. It's captivating.

ALYONKA: Most importantly that there are nice people here.

MEJERITSKI: Do you watch soccer? For our National Team?

MALKIN: I root for our National Team but haven’t watched many of the games. I've watched Zenit in St. Petersburg. Our National Team has been losing but we're always wishing them the best of luck.

BIRMAN: Thank you so much Geno for coming on the show with us.

MEJERITSKI: Is there someone you want to say hi to right now?

MALKIN: Hello? To all my friends and family and parents. Hopefully this will reach them in Magnitogorsk.

MEJERITSKI: When are your parents coming back to town?

MALKIN: Probably sometime around the New Year.

ALYONKA: I think your parents are more famous than you are.

MALKIN: And I don't like that!

BIRMAN: Could you have ever imagined that they'd be so popular?

MALKIN: Honestly, I never thought they would be. For me it was a shock.

BIRMAN: During the games, I walk around the concourse of the Mellon Arena and many people know that I'm friends with your family and they all come up and ask me "When are the Malkins coming back?" I swear to you. That's how popular they are.

ALYONKA: Yes, and when they're here, people come up to them and ask for their autographs and to take photos.

BIRMAN: And you're dad loves to hug the ladies.

MALKIN: (laughing) Don't say that!

ALYONKA: Let's hope your mom wasn't listening during this part.

MALKIN: Will you guys ever let me go?! (laughing)

All: Yes, yes. Thank you very much for coming again!


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