Published on September 5th, 2012 | by James Conley0
Malkin: Crosby to KHL Possible If NHL Lockout Cancels Season
Evgeni Malkin recently told SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov that not only would he play for the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk during a potential NHL lockout, but that Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby might be convinced to join him in the Russian league if a lockout cancels the entire 2012-13 NHL season.
From Lysenkov’s interview, translated by Yahoo! Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov,
Will Sidney Crosby come to Magnitogorsk?
“I think he won’t go to the KHL right away. He will see how the situation develops. I see that the league and the PA have started to come closer. Perhaps the lockout won’t continue for the entire year. That’s why a lot of North American players won’t go to Europe until the very last moment. A lot of them are a bit afraid of Russia. But the best hockey league in the world after the NHL is here.
“And if the lockout is announced for the entire season, then Crosby may come. He loves to play and won’t be able to live an entire year without hockey.“
That last bit was not placed in bold text in the original article, but it should be emphasized. It’s no secret that Crosby loves the game, and a season-ending lockout would mean two and a half calendar years between the last time Crosby played regular hockey in January 2011 and next October, the presumed beginning of the 2013-14 season.
Crosby played 20 games at the end of last regular season and into the playoffs. While his numbers didn’t dip, it was a small sample size, and perhaps still clouded by the possibility of returning concussion symptoms. But, if Crosby is as healthy as reports this summer say he has been, Malkin is probably right to say that Sid is dying to get back on the ice.
Would Crosby actually play in the KHL, though? Sources close to Crosby were quick to hush the buzz created by Malkin’s comments, and it would be a tough PR pill for the league to swallow should its most recognizable face sign a contract with its closest rival league.
Whatever Crosby decides, it’s up to league owners to make sure no NHL player dons a KHL uniform this fall.
Image Thebeev @ flickr