Evgeni Malkin Likes Being Known as the Best Player in the World, but Knows he Must Prove it in this year’s NHL Playoffs

February 22, 2012 – 6:30 am by Steven Cuce

Evgeni Malkin is becoming widely regarded as the NHL’s greatest player, but that is a debate for another time. Malkin is definitely one of the hottest players in hockey right now, leading the league in points. He also scored a goal in the second period to break a scoreless tie in Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers.

No.71 has improved every aspect of his game from his shootout skills to his face-offs. The Penguins center discusses his key to success and his hunger to play in the postseason.

Evgeni Malkin joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh with Seibel, Starkey, & Miller to discuss the improvements made on his breakaway and shootout moves, staying low to avoid hits on the boards, living in his own place, the improvement of his play on face-offs and being tabbed as the best player in the world.

You’ve gotten a lot better at breakaways and shootouts. Why?

“It’s tough to explain why. I think it’s practice and we do it today and then I scored again. I talk to my good guy in Russia. He’s my agent and he played goalie. We talked a lot and he helped me a little bit. He showed me a couple of drills and I’m loose and it is easy.”

Why do people get mad when you go on that low move on the boards, so people don’t hit you?

“Yeah. I like playing hard. I like hits, but sometimes when you are not ready you just save your body because I control puck and look to who’s open. I’m not ready to hit you know and I’m not one to injure because sometimes when you are not ready it’s easy to have injury. I don’t know why people are mad because I just try to save my body when I am not ready.”

A lot of people talk about the growth of your maturity. What’s it like to live on your own?

“It’s a long process because I used to live with [Sergei] Gonchar, but now my English is a little better. I have a house. I like just trying to enjoy playing hockey and my life.”

People are talking about how much better you are on face-offs?

“Yeah because we know what we do because I talk to my line-mates. They know I push forward and we go. If they are not ready we just won’t start quick. Yeah I see how Sid [Crosby] play now. I understand how important it is to win face-offs because you control puck. I work in practice too and I see how easy it is to win a face-off where [James] Neal score a couple of goals behind me. It’s points too and it’s an easy game when you just devote five seconds to the face-off after you control the puck for one minute.”

When your name comes up people often say that is the best player in the world? Do you like that?

“I think everyone likes, but the season is not over and just regular season. We won’t play playoffs and see what’s going on in the playoffs. It’s because playoffs are very important games and if you play the regular season bad, but not playoffs, it’s so much different. Then people miss your name quick.”

Listen to Evgeni Malkin on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh here

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