Monday, July 28, 2008

Malkin and Gonchar staying busy

Last summer Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin trained in St. Petersburg Russia and both had great seasons. Gonchar, a notoriously slow starter from his early years in Washington, particularly played well. Need proof? The first two months of the 2007-08 season the Sarge put up 24 points in 23 games, better than the 17 point in 23 games in 06-07 and 12 points in 22 games for the 05-06 season.

This summer the pair of Russian Penguins are seemingly participating in similiar activities, as they're playing in a tournament August 1-6 in St. Pete, along with a fellow by the name of Alex Ovechkin.

It's interesting that Malkin and Ovechkin are taking another similiar path. Ovechkin has been friendly and open about Malkin's talent and ability, all the while saying it doesn't matter if his opponent is Russian or Canadian. Malkin has been a little frostier towards his countryman; once saying the relationship between the two were "teammates" (as in the Russian National team), not "friends" as the reporter suggested in a question.

Hockey is a tight knit circle and we assume there's not too much world class training going on in summer in Russia so the two will likely be in close quarters again. It'll be interesting to see what if any reports come to this side of the world about the participation of some of the biggest NHL stars in the world right now.

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