August is the slowest month of the year for hockey news, which is why it comes as no surprise that we’ve seen the media take advantage of what could be a non-story involving the Dallas Stars and Evgeni Malkin and have tried to spin it into a controversy.
The Stars had reportedly offered Malkin a big contract, prior to him signing an extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this summer. The Penguins and Malkin agreed to a deal that will pay him $9.5 million a year and will keep him in Pittsburgh until 2022.
Tampering is obviously an issue, there’s no denying that. But for the Penguins, it’s not a story at this point. They have him signed and locked into their lineup. They’re not pursuing this any further, meaning the league will not investigate. Which is why this really doesn’t even need to be a story at this point.
The news of potential tampering by the Stars came on the heels of Malkin’s father being interviewed over in Russia. The interview was translated over on Puck Daddy, and led to the current controversy that we see. In discussing the contract extension that Malkin signed, his father had this to say, among other things, when asked if he’d consider another team:
“You know, Dallas offered my son a bigger contract than Pittsburgh. And Zhenya replied ‘No, I don’t want [to go] there.’ And that’s when the Stars had already signed Sergei Gonchar. His [Malkin’s] best friend [Gonchar] was there. Why not agree to go there?
The Penguins have already come right out and said that they’re not concerned over potential tampering. Now if they hadn’t already locked him up, it might be another issue. But with the Russian star locked in with Pittsburgh for the next decade, this really isn’t the story that it’s being made out to be.