Thursday, August 17, 2006


Evgeni Malkin Update

Exclusive report: must credit Battle of Alberta

Via sources I am not at liberty to reveal, even under threat of imprisonment or being forced to listen to Craig Simpson read Shakespeare, I have here a transcript of a recent phone conversation between Evgeni Malkin and his longtime former new agent Pat Brisson. Verrrr-yyy enlightening, I say. (Note: you may be surprised at Malkin's command of the English language, which strongly resembles that of a nondescript hockey blogger.)


Evgeni Malkin: I'm getting nervous, Pat. I don't read a lot of English newspapers, but I listen to the radio and watch TV a lot, and I don't like what people are saying about me.

Pat Brisson: What do you mean?

EM: Well, there's a lot of speculation, with many of the sports media implying that I'm flaky, or have a weak character, or just kinda nutty.

PB: Ah! Well, don't you worry, we can take care of that right away.

EM: So you want me to come out of hiding and talk to the press?

PB: My God, no! You stay where you are for at least a week, and what I'll do is issue a press release saying that your actions have been for personal and family reasons.

EM: OK... so how will you describe these reasons?

PB: I won't! We're not going to provide any details whatsoever.

EM: Wait - won't this create more questions than it answers?

PB: Not at all! I know you just got here, so you're not aware that virtually the entire hockey media is on record as believing that (A) personal and family reasons are above criticism, and (B) hockey is a big business, and these things are going to happen.

EM: No one will want to press on these "personal reasons"?

PB: Not many. As a typical example, I heard Bryn Griffiths of Edmonton's The Team 1260 on the radio last month, and he said, "If a move is for personal reasons, that's all I need to hear. I don't read People magazine; I'm not interested in the dirt and gossip."

EM: Wait, I heard that bit too. He also said that if it's for hockey reasons, then he would want to know what those are.

PB: Yeah, but that's the beauty of the "principles" of someone like Bryn. If you say it's for personal reasons, and he won't "stoop" to gossip, then he's bound to take you at your word, regardless of how much sense it makes.

EM: Alright, great. But still, at some point, closer to the season, I'm going to have to emerge, and talk to reporters. What do I say when some skeptical columnist asks about leaving Russia?

PB: I'd suggest something like, "Time to cut the cord", preferably with a confident smile.

EM: Huh? But then I'd basically be saying (A) that I was acting with utmost professionalism and maturity before, and (B) I'm behaving more professionally now. Aren't those things mutually exclusive?

PB: Yes, but don't overthink it -- it's not like anyone else will. Also, be sure to express some offense at the existence of any rumours, or unattributed statements, that emerge into the void that we've created by providing no details whatsoever about your personal reasons.

EM: I'm still a bit concerned that people will think that, having already walked away from one contract right after I signed it, I might do it again. How do I deal with this?

PB: This is really a non-issue. If you get the direct question about whether there's a risk that you won't live up to your Penguins contract, just say "No", then leave a pregnant pause, then say "No" again.

EM: They'll take me at my word?

PB: Some might, but that's irrelevant. It'll be understood that what you're really doing is stating your intentions, not making any kind of promise that means something in and of itself. That ship has sailed -- your word isn't really worth anything.

Think of it like the boss who has an affair with his secretary, then ends up divorcing his wife and marrying the secretary. He says his vows at the ceremony. He assures Wife #2 that he'll always be faithful. He probably means it, and most likely, he's not a horrible person in the slightest -- he may have even grown through the whole thing. It's quite possible that he will, in fact, be faithful forevermore.

But the "promise" that comes out of his mouth on the wedding day is meaningless. Because of his past choices, the boss has ensured that he'll only ever be judged by his actions, not his words. You follow?

EM: I think so. Thanks, Pat. So, personal and family reasons, no details, end of story?

PB: You got it exactly. You're bulletproof, dude. You might even get some people saying it's hard not to applaud you.

The only way this won't work is if the sports media applies their principles selectively and inconsistently.




Well done.

Your entry on this makes me wonder what sort of reception CP will get in Calgary his first game there as a duck.

Excellent satire on how the sports media completely rolled over on this one.

However, you missed my favourite trope: "Well, obviously you've never been married..."

Ahahaha! I think that Pronger's new monkier 'round these parts should be "Punchline"

Malkin, so well spoken. And it's good to hear he's getting the best possible advice.

Your entry on this makes me wonder what sort of reception CP will get in Calgary his first game there as a duck.

That's a good question, as Calgary has some yelling to do at Anaheim anyway for their punchless G7.

There will be boos, but I'm not sure if that'll be directed at Pronger or Beauchemin or Selanne.

(or quite possibly at Jeff Friesen)

It would shock me if fans DIDN'T boo Pronger in Calgary. Canadians tend to express their solidarity when it comes to this sort of thing.

It's, a european, thing.

From what Pat said, they [Metallurg] were holding his passport, and were following him constantly harrashing him, the signing at 3:00a.m. seems to support that.

I dont't know if any of that is true, but if it is, it would explain why he signed a new contract, and waited till he was landed in Helsinki and had his hands on his passport to bolt.

I can't believe the team actually had control of his passport. Shouldn't that be illegal? I know it's Russia, but cmon.

Maybe he can stay at Mogilny's house. That's the last big defection I can think of. I'm sure Nedved came after, but the Mogilny case was huge. And maybe Alex can give him lessons on how to handle the Russian mob.

The team may temporarily take the passports so that an errand boy can get any visas all at once, or make sure that they are not misplaced by the player.

Could be just a convenience thing.

Yeah. Convenient for their attempts to bilk the NHL for ten times what every other team gets for their players.

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