When asked whether he misses the NHL by the Sovetsky Sport journalists, Malkin’s answer was “no”.
“I’m happy with everything in Magnitogorsk,” he said. “We have a great team. We win a lot. I’m in good shape and get plenty of time on the ice.”
It's easy to see why Malkin would respond like that. It's rumored that he, along with other top players like Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin make in salary close to (if not a little more) than what their NHL contracts would pay them, once you figure in the ultra-low 14% Russian income tax rate. The comforts of home, obviously, are a nice draw for a young man who has spent many of his recent months across the ocean in America.
"It’s nicer here as I can communicate in Russian with everybody… It’s only calmer in America,” Malkin informed. “I live outside Pittsburgh and I can go for a walk without creating any hype or visit a café. And here everybody is running after me – the World Championship has boosted my popularity. But I try not to deny anyone autographs or photos, especially the kids.”While Malkin's content at home, he's also playing very well for Magnitogorsk, scoring 11 goals and 22 assists in 24 games to help lead his home-town team.
The 26-year-old stressed that he won’t be playing in Russia till the end of his career as he “doesn’t believes that club owners would destroy the NHL down to rock bottom.”
The lockout drags on, but it's hard to imagine many more players who have it made like Malkin does right now. He's still on top of the hockey world, it's just that the hockey world isn't centered in North America right now thanks to the bickering of super-rich owners and a rich-player's union.