Oleg Mezheritskiy, a SovSport reporter based in Pittsburgh, spoke with Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin after last night's loss to the Washington Capitals for an interview appearing in tomorrow's edition.
It was a candid discussion, to say the least. Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov provides the translation of Mezheritskiy's interview, in which Malkin discusses the 6-3 loss, the infamous (and never-ending) Alexander Semin comments about Sidney Crosby and Malkin's icy relationship with former friend Alexander Ovechkin ... well, "former" at least 13 months away from being Olympic teammates, that is.
It begins with Malkin claiming the two have "a normal relationship."
OLEG MEZHERITSKIY: Normal? Then why are you trying to knock each other's heads off?
MALKIN: "Well, we had one moment. But why remember it? Everything is in the past already. He has his own life, I have my own."
In the first period you almost checked Ovechkin.
"It is a game moment. He attacked me and I attacked him. Don't think it's because of any personal dislike. And when he tried to hit me in the third period, Alex slowed down at the blue line to 'meet' me. I noticed it, lost my speed. And it created an offside, which was good for Washington."
Ovechkin advised you not to keep your head down when he is on the ice.
"And I never keep it down. A lot of defensemen can catch you. For example, Chara from Boston. If you keep your head down you can get such a concussion that won't be something minor."
But still, why does Ovechkin hit Malkin? Shed some light on this mystery that is two years old now.
"Because of Ushakov [Malkin's agent in Russia]. Perhaps, I am at fault that Ovechkin had a conflict with my agent." - Malkin said with a smile. (Note: This is in reference to a Sports-Express story about Ovechkin breaking the jaw of Malkin's agent.)
Is Alex upset that you leaked this story to the media?
"And what's there to be afraid of? The truth? If a person makes a mistake he should be ashamed. Perhaps, Ovechkin shouldn't behave that way the next time. And overall this is no mystery. If I had kept quiet the world would still have found out about it."
Do you even talk to Ovechkin?
"I haven't talked to him in two years."
How do you feel about Semin's words about Crosby?
"I heard that Semin's words were misinterpreted. He only said that he likes Kane from Chicago. Everyone has their own view of other players' game. This is his opinion. But I think that Crosby is the best in the NHL."
Was this media scandal discussed within the team?
"No one said anything. And Semin even called Sid. And said that these were not his words."
"Yes, Sid told me about it."
Are you tired of the fact that before every game between your teams some conflicts always take place, just like in boxing?
"Perhaps you, the media, are interested in it. We just play hockey. But still, when you hear unpleasant words addressed to you, then you become charged for the game."
Is there anything you want to say to Ovechkin?
"To show a good game and score important goals. That's it."
In 13 months you and Ovechkin together will play for team Russia in the Winter Olympics.
"You counted already? I hope that injuries will pass. It's every player's dream to participate in the Olympics. And Ovechkin... Maybe we'll be friends again by that time."