Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Evgeni Malkin Would Like a Word With You

An exclusive interview with the Penguins’ enigmatic superstar.



(page 3 of 4)

Evgeni signs an autograph for photographer Frank Walsh's sons. "My first globe," he jokes.

 

Russian Humor


Here’s Geno now in the plush players’ lounge of the CONSOL Energy Center. He’s got a Stanley Cup and a playoff MVP trophy—and the scars to prove it, including an enormous one on his right knee from ACL surgery last season. It’s a long way from the static of Pittsburgh International Airport. The winding green aisles have become familiar, the highways well traveled (“I have navigation, never lost,” Malkin says. “Only one time when visiting the kids in hospital I lost my way.”) Mario’s house is now “Mario’s house,” and Geno’s got a house of his own with a yard and a cat named Dixi. The Mellon Arena’s sparse corridors have been replaced by CONSOL’s carpeted rec rooms, bubble hockey tables and espresso machines.

Much has changed in a few years. The static cloud that once hung above Geno’s head has lifted. He’s talking in English, laughing as he recounts a now infamous story featured in HBO’s “24/7” documentary. Somehow, it’s funnier when Geno tells it—pausing every once in a while to Google-search a word in his mind and emphasizing minor points with giggles like a middle-schooler rhapsodizing a lunch table full of preteens with a tall tale.

“One time I see Flower and Johnny, two goalies, do re-around ... re-arrange of Lovejoy and Letetsu’s room. TV, beds, everything. Out! Put new room around elevator. Hotel people very confused. Very funny joke.”

Indeed.

This is the Geno who’s sometimes hard to see. On camera, he’s shy and intensely earnest. In person, he’s the best kind of adult: a big kid.

“One thing people might not see is how funny he is behind the scenes,” Gonchar says. “He doesn’t say much, but all of a sudden he’ll come from out of nowhere with a joke that cracks everyone up. One thing I’ll always remember about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was Geno making fun of Max Talbot for missing the empty net after Max just won us the Cup with two goals.”

On Twitter, which Malkin joined at the start of the season, he responded to an earth-shattering nutritional discovery by asking for verification from his 79,000 followers: “Just read that tomato = fruit? True???”

And when a conversation with Phoenix Coyotes tough-guy Paul Bisonnette, nicknamed Biz Nasty, ended with Bisonnette jokingly telling Malkin he would see him at the All-Star Game, Malkin retorted, in flawless broken English, “Sorry Nasty, you play in rookie game,”  then added the follow-up disclaimer: “Russian humor.”

And don’t get Malkin started on the Steelers. He’s a convert, a full-fledged Cope-a-Nut. “I don’t understand all the rules, but I love this game,” he says. “My favorites now are Mike Wallace and Troy Polamalu. I think he’s the best defenseman.”

After Polamalu returned a fumble for a game-breaking touchdown against the Colts early this season, Malkin feverishly sent a tweet to the Flyin’ Hawaiian: “You best!!!!”

Malkin’s comedic stylings may invoke Balky from “Perfect Strangers” or perhaps Steve Martin’s “Saturday Night Live” wild-and-crazy-guys schtick, and maybe the caricature isn’t lost on Geno himself. After all, his Halloween costume this year involved a spread-collar silk shirt, a plume of fake chest hair and an absurdly bushy Doobie Brothers mustache.

Malkin’s hilarious, hirsute costume is a kind of living metaphor for the view many hockey fans have of the mercurial star, and that caricature misses the point entirely. Because underneath the goofy exterior is a man whose bravery is unmatched and whose loyalty to Lemieux and the Penguins organization is limitless. If Malkin has a fault, it’s that he cares too much

Next: Smiling like a butcher's dog

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.

It’s Road Repaving Season in Pittsburgh. Is Your Street on the List?

The City of Pittsburgh has finalized its street paving plan for 2018. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Three Rivers Champion: James S. Perry

Perry combined his love for athletics and volunteerism to create a youth athletic association that at its height provided organized softball and baseball to more than 350 boys and girls.

Three Rivers Art Festival Brings Music and New Art For 59th Summer

Point State Park, Gateway Center and sites across the Cultural District will host free, world-class art and events during this year’s 10-day festival.

Sound of Silence: Century III to be Sold at Sheriff's Sale

The nearly 40-year-old mall encounters foreclosure once again. Will this sale be the end of the line?

Pittsburgh Riverlife President & CEO Vivien Li Resigns

Li is returning to Boston to be with family members who are in declining health.

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

The 6 Most Common Traffic Jams in Pittsburgh

Bad road layouts coupled with inconsiderate drivers and poorly timed stop lights cause traffic headaches all over the city. We sought an expert's opinion for the worst of the worst.

Watch: Snoop Dogg Schools Viewers about The Stanley Cup

The rapper is appearing in a series of videos in which he explains the rules and traditions of the Stanley Cup. We particularly like his shout out to Sidney Crosby.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Comments

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley will rotate its third class of chef/owners this June … but this time there’s a twist.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

Vote for the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

Vote for the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

The finalists have been selected now you get to vote. Where is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Who is the best local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to select your local favorites in multiple categories.

Comments


Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

The bar team at the Strip District restaurant incubator continues its flights of fancy with Flashback Flavors.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

The power play, star power and goaltending are among the primary weapons the Penguins have at their disposal in their quest for another championship. But so, too, is an unshakable belief they can hoist Lord Stanley's Cup three times in a row.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

A review of "Rampage," plus an update on the former Friends of the Hollywood Theater and other local movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

A pair of puffin socks played a big role in this Pittsburgh couple’s relationship — and, in a surprise move by their pastor, their wedding.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

The vintage décor and reclaimed materials business owned by Seth Hunter will open in a larger Lawrenceville warehouse next month.

Comments

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Tours of Empire on Liberty, a one-time furniture and carpet warehouse in Bloomfield turned into a mixed-use structure, take place this month. The tour includes a look at the penthouse and two condos.

Comments