With the NHL lockout finally over, Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeny 'Jeno' Malkin said it won’t be easy for him to part with the Russian hockey league and return to the US.
“I heard that the lockout has ended, but I don’t know all the details so far,” Malkin told Sportbox.ru. “I’ll read the news, phone my agent and then the situation will become more clear.”
“If this isn’t yet another rumor, I’ll to fly to Pittsburgh and continue executing my contract there,” he continued. “My deal with the Penguins expires in a year and a half. Now the main thing for me is to rest as I’m very tired. Probably, I'll fly home on Monday and start packing.”
The dispute between the NHL's club owners and the Players Association has come to an end, with the North American hockey league scheduled to resume its season on January 19.
Malkin says it will be “hard” for him to leave KHL team Metallurg Magnitogorsk, where he played during the lockout.
“I'm used to the team and my hometown,” the 26-year-old said. “At Metallurg, I did everything I could, trying to help the team. I think I played really well. But nothing depends on me now. The lockout is over and I have a deal with Pittsburgh.”
But Jeno said that his departure form Metallurg won’t be a huge blow to the team, which he expects to continue to perform at a high level.
“I don’t think that the squad will be weakened,” he said. “There’s high-scoring [Sergey] Mozyakin in the roster, for example.”
Malkin has played 37 games in the KHL this season, collecting 65 points (23 goals and 42 assists).