Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin hints at potential linemates, talks offseason training changes |

Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin hints at potential linemates, talks offseason training changes

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Justin Schultz defends on Evgeni Malkin during the first day of camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

When Evgeni Malkin met with reporters for the first time in training camp Sunday afternoon, he talked about his lofty goals for the season , the knee injury he played through in last year’s playoffs and the high stick that took out two of his fake teeth earlier in the week.

But that’s not all Malkin talked about.

Here are three other interesting tidbits from Sunday’s conversation.

1. Line hints

Whether he has inside information or not is unclear, but Malkin dropped a little hint about who he thinks might end up playing on his wings come opening night – Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel.

“We have great lines, like me, Phil, maybe Rusty,” Malkin said. “Maybe (someone else).”

So far in camp, Zach Aston-Reese has been holding down the left side with Malkin and Kessel.

Playing Rust in that spot would necessitate moving him to his off wing, but he’s had success playing with Malkin in the past, using his speed to back off defenders and give the Russian superstar more room to operate.

2. Summer routine

In preparation for the season, with a few extra weeks to work with, Malkin focused more on skating than working out in the gym or on the track.

He said he started skating three times a week in July, then ramped up to four days a week, then ramped up again to daily skating in the past two weeks.

“I feel it doesn’t matter what you do in gym or track. When you step on ice, it’s so much different,” Malkin said. “You do different work. You only feel great when you skate hard. If you skate, like, five laps after practice, it’s unbelievable workout for your condition and your legs and more fun.”

Malkin said he skated in the offseason with players such as Los Angeles’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Dallas’ Alexander Radulov and Valeri Nichushkin.

“We have so much fun, a couple games,” Malkin said. “We play competitions. It’s more fun this year for sure.”

3. Turn off the TV

While Malkin said he was glad, in theory, that his countryman and longtime rival Alex Ovechkin finally won the Stanley Cup last season, he didn’t watch a second of the final two rounds of the playoffs on television.

“Of course I’m upset. I feel like if we beat Washington, we had a chance to win. You always think about it this way,” Malkin said. “But it doesn’t matter who plays in the final, Washington or Tampa, I’m never watching. I go to Miami, spend time with my family and my kid. It doesn’t matter if it’s last year or five years ago. I never watch the semifinal or the second round. It’s not fun to watch it.”

Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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