The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 14, 2013

Pens sign Malkin to 8-year extension

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins are keeping hockey’s best one-two punch together through their primes and beyond.

A day after signing coach Dan Bylsma to a two-year contract extension, the Penguins and star forward Evgeni Malkin agreed to an eight-year deal that will keep the 2012 NHL MVP and franchise cornerstone Sidney Crosby in the fold well into the next decade.

The $76-million deal begins with the 2014-15 season and will carry an average salary cap hit of $9.5 million, a little bit less than the $10.6 million Crosby will average over the first nine years of the 12-year extension he signed last summer.

It’s a matter of semantics, really, for two of the game’s biggest stars.

“I think it’s good,” Malkin said. “I like to play with him. I think he is best player in the world.”

A title the 26-year-old Malkin has toyed with at times during his seven seasons in Pittsburgh.

The second overall pick behind Alex Ovechkin in the 2004 NHL Draft won the Rookie of the Year in 2007 and has twice captured the Art Ross Trophy given to the NHL’s leading scorer. He was named league MVP in 2012 when he collected 109 points and helped carry the Penguins as Crosby continued to recover from concussion-like symptoms.

Malkin’s numbers dipped this spring during the lockout-shortened, 48-game season. A concussion and a lingering shoulder injury limited the Russian star to just 33 points in 31 games. He bounced back during the playoffs, collecting four goals and 12 assists during Pittsburgh’s romp through the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators but was held scoreless — as was Crosby — during a four-game sweep by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals.

The stunning collapse led to a few days of anxiety for the team that cruised to the second-best record in the league. Rather than panic after falling to a lower-seeded team for the fourth straight year, Pittsburgh decided to keep Bylsma, who has developed a close relationship with Malkin since taking over in February, 2009.

The fact the announcement of Malkin’s extension came less than 24 hours after Bylsma was given a very public vote of confidence is hardly a coincidence.

“I like Dan,” said Malkin, who shouldered much of the blame for Pittsburgh’s flameout against the Bruins. The NHL’s highest scoring team managed just two goals in nearly 14 periods of hockey.

“It’s my mistake that I scored zero goals,” Malkin said following a 1-0 loss in Game 4. “It’s not good for me.”

The disappointment did little to shake Malkin’s confidence in the future. He turns 27 next month. Crosby turns 26. They guided the Penguins to a championship in 2009 — with Malkin being named the playoff MVP — and with them in the fold for the next decade there remains plenty of time to return to the top.

“We’re still young and can stay here a long time,” Malkin said. “We’re a group that we’ve won Stanley Cup before and I believe we will again.”

Malkin was about to enter the final year of a contract that paid him about $8.7 million annually. Getting a new deal in place before he went home to Russia for the summer was important. He didn’t want to enter training camp in September answering questions about his future.

Now that it’s set, he won’t have to. The deal includes a provision that would require Malkin’s approval if the Penguins ever tried to move him. At the moment, it’s a difficult scenario to imagine.

“I like the city, is good for hockey,” Malkin said. “I like fans. I have house here and all my friends here. It’s good for me.”

And good for the Penguins. General manager Ray Shero praised Malkin for being adamant about his desire to stay in Pittsburgh rather than hit the open market in a year, when he could command an even higher salary and go to a team where he’s not the 1b to Crosby’s 1a.

“He made it very clear that this is where he wanted to play,” Shero said.

The spotlight in a bigger market has never been something Malkin craves. One of his fondest memories is skating off the ice after his first game in Pittsburgh to a standing ovation.

He has become a folk hero of sorts, his improving but still somewhat stilted English makes up in earnestness what it lacks in eloquence. His parents have become fixtures in the stands during the annual playoff runs. When he told them he was staying rather than playing elsewhere in the NHL or entertaining a return to Russia — where he played during the lockout — they were fully on board.

The agreement allows Shero to examine the next item on his offseason “to do” list: negotiating a possible extension with defenseman Kris Letang, who is also entering the final year of his current deal.

The 26-year-old was a finalist for the Norris Trophy this year but played miserably against the Bruins. Still, he remains one of the top men at his position in the game and will likely ask for a significant bump over his $3.5 million salary.

“We’ll certainly turn our attention to Kris here over the next little bit and see if we’re in the same ballpark,” Shero said. “He’s certainly a key player for us.”

One that may be too expensive for the Penguins to keep. It’s the nature of the business. Pittsburgh will find a way to manage either way. Having Crosby and Malkin through at least 2022 means the team will remain a prime destination for free agents.

“When you have two world-class players like this,” Shero said, “you do everything you can to keep them.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings