There must be something in the Russian air, or maybe being in familiar surroundings, or even just his mom, Natalia’s, good ol’ borscht, but whatever it is its helping Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin take his game to an entirely new level while he’s in his native Russia playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL during this NHL lockout.
He started out somewhat slow notching assist after assist without a goal (the usual story), but now it seems that Malkin has finally got his skates under him (he currently has two goals and nine points in the nine games that he’s played for Magnitogorsk). Just look at this goal:
This video is from Metallurg’s win over the Amur Khabarovsk earlier today by a score of 3-0. Malkin looks right at home on that ice making it look so easy and effortless; however, he is not without struggles when he’s on NHL ice as he seems to bring his level of play down a notch. He’s definitely an elite hockey player and, quite arguably, among the best in the world but when it comes to playing in the NHL versus the KHL or with fellow Russian players, there’s just no comparison – he shines in his homeland amongst his fellow countrymen.
The only hope as Penguins fans would be that Malkin plays long enough over in Russia for it to become second nature to bring it back here on NHL ice and hopefully there will still be a 2012-13 season for him to do so.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.