We watch him skate. We see him score. But we rarely get a glimpse into the life of Evgeni Malkin.
The 29-year-old star forward is typically quiet, though he’s got a reputation for being a bit of a goofball in the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ locker room.
In a one-on-one interview with Malkin on GQ magazine’s website, he touched on a variety of topics, including teammates, what most Russian players have in common, his friendship with Alex Ovechkin, politics and even his love life.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
On the sense of camaraderie among Russian NHLers:
We’re friends here. Everyone, we go to dinner together and if I see Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk or Nikolay Kulemin, it’s all friends. We play national team, we spend time in Moscow sometimes. All good friend and try to support each other.
On Ovechkin becoming the highest-scoring Russian-born player in NHL history:
It’s amazing numbers and it’s not over. He’s just 30 and it’s not last goal. I mean, he can score, I know, maybe four more hundred goals. He scores every year a lot of goals. He’s a good guy, good player. I mean, I’m happy he scored but he’s not over. We’re different. I mean, I’m a little bit different player. He’s more shoot puck and I play centre. I’m a little different. I’m happy when he scores, maybe he happy when I’m scoring. We’re good friends. We play national team together.
On the difference between North American players and Russian players:
When we grow up we play in Russia it’s a little bit different hockey. It’s bigger ice. You have more room. We not play, most Russian guys not play physical. Most Russian guys are skills guys because it’s a little bit difference practice. We use stick handle, you know. We play puck. It’s a little bit different hockey.
On the award that meant the most to him:
I think each one is very important for me but if we take one I think it’s the Conn Smythe because I know it’s the Stanley Cup but my trophy is important, too, because I know I’m first Russian guy who won this trophy. It’s good. Sometimes, it’s very important because I know I work hard all year. It’s long year, long playoffs, and we win the Stanley Cup and the NHL gave me the Conn Smythe.
On what Sidney Crosby is like off the ice:
It’s good question, too, but I think like everyone it’s eat lunch with couple guys and go home and relax, you know. He loves to go out sometimes, too, you know. He’s cool guy. He’s funny. Leadership, good leadership.