Sports Hockey

Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin silences KHL chatter, calls NHL his 'priority' 0

QMI Agency

Evgeni Malkin. (Reuters)

Evgeni Malkin. (Reuters)

With countryman Ilya Kovalchuk jumping ship two weeks ago, abruptly bolting to Russia and leaving $77 million on the table in North America, Evgeni Malkin is shooting down the possibility of doing the same.

Malkin, 27, told R-Sport news agency Thursday he is confident that there will not be a parade of Russian players heading to the Kontinental Hockey League in the near future.

"They're saying that this will become a trend, but it's really an exception to the rule," Malkin said of Kovalchuk's decision.

The two-time scoring champion added that the NHL is his "priority" now that Kovalchuk is seemingly gone for good.

Kovalchuk shocked the hockey world by inking a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg mere days after retiring from the NHL. The former New Jersey Devils sniper had 12 years remaining on a 15-year, $100 million contract.

In June, Malkin signed an eight-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the big-bodied centre sticks to his word, he'll be in a Penguins jersey through the 2021-22 season.

"Why would I look for something else?" Malkin asked rhetorically.

"I have everything."

Poll

Prior to Kovalchuk's departure, who was the best Russian NHLer?

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