He’s known by his nickname: “Geno” everywhere. But there is a lot more info about Evgeni Malkin which everybody should know.
You could begin with his name which belongs in any discussion about the planet’s best hockey players. Over ten NHL seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni has already scored more than 300 goals and 700 points, becoming one of the 12 players in that league’s history to average 1.19 points per game. In the recent years, he gained a few new achievements in hockey, like 700 NHL games and 500 NHL assists.
Only Evgeni’s Pittsburgh teammate, Sidney Crosby, has averaged more points per contest among the current NHL players. And like Sidney, Evgeni has twice topped the NHL in regular-season scoring to win the Art Ross Trophy.
He burst onto the North American hockey scene in 2006, scored a goal in his first game with Pittsburgh, and then scored goals in each of the next five games. It seemed that Evgeni was intent to prove the NHL what he was capable of, and in that first NHL season he certainly was capable of achieving great wins. Evgeni finished that season with 33 goals and 85 points, won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie and joined Pittsburgh great Mario Lemieux as the only Penguin to win that award.
The very next season, Evgeni topped the 100-point plateau. The season after that, he won the scoring title with his career-best 113 points.
Arguably, Evgeni was never better than the year of 2011-12 seasons. After Sidney battling the concussion, Evgeni got the full leadership of the Penguins. He also scored 50 goals and 109 points, a performance that earned him the Hart Trophy (MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (Players’ Player) in addition to the Ross.
And after Pittsburgh finished its season, Evgeni joined Russia for the IIHF World Championship, led that tournament in scoring and winning the MVP while helping his country to get the title.
A native of Magnitogorsk who spent his summers in Moscow, Evgeni is a proud Russian who has always represented his country in international competitions. He played for Russia at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. And prior to joining the NHL, Evgeni starred for his hometown Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Russia’s top hockey league.
Magnitogorsk is a big part of Evgeni’s story. The industrial city is a home to hard-working Russians who are dedicated to family and friends, and Evgeni has shown those traits on and off the rink. He has proven his loyalty and played professionally for only Metallurg and the Penguins. In fact, during the NHL lockout, Malkin returned to play for Metallurg, thrilled his everybody in his hometown, including his parents, Vladimir and Natalia.
Evgeni learned hockey from his father. Vladimir also played for Metallurg. But Vladimir, a free spirit, also passed on to his youngest son a sense of humor that has helped Evgeni to become a popular teammate for Metallurg, the Penguins and the Russian national unit. Evgeni’s pride and fiery passion come from Natalia, a woman who raised two sons during a time when her country was experiencing great change. When Evgeni went to what Pittsburgh teammates call “that level,” like he did during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, that obvious determination and drive Evgeni shown was his mother’s influence.
And Evgeni hates to lose, which probably comes from his older brother Denis. Their parents told stories of childhood competitions between Denis and Evgeni, of their tennis matches that either son would quit in order denying the other claim to victory. The bond between the brothers is special, and that is true for Evgeni with Denis.
Evgeni is famous for forming tight bonds within the hockey community. No one is stronger than his connection to Sergei Gonchar, a former teammate with the Penguins and Metallurg. Sergei and his family opened their home to Evgeni during his early years in Pittsburgh, he led him adapt to North American culture. Evgeni had described Sergei as “not a mentor, not a brother, but my best friend” – and upon winning the Hart Trophy, Evgeni publicly dedicated the honor to Sergei.
Evgeni is a caring son, loyal friend and wonderful teammate.
But he’ll be what he wants to be known as a champion. And since leading Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2009, Evgeni has made it as his mission to bring that silver chalice back to his adopted city, so he can have another “Cup Day” in his beloved Magnitogorsk.
Evgeni was only 22 when he produced a postseason for the ages, posting 14 goals and 36 points on Pittsburgh’s Cup run. Not since Wayne Gretzky in 1994 had an NHL player led the league in regular-season and postseason scoring, and Malkin joined Lemieux as the only Pittsburgh player to earn the Hart, Art Ross, Calder and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) trophies. Knowing all of this bio about him, the only question left to ask is: What will “Geno” do next?