My Name Evgeni, I Have 26 Birthdays

February 25, 2012; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) and center Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrate after Kunitz scored a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

What a year for Evgeni Malkin, who is celebrating his 26th birthday today.

Injuries couldn't stop him from wrecking lives throughout the season and he was given some nice hardware in return. This Russian machine is now a two-time Art Ross winner, MVP, and Lindsay winner to boot.

Because I love rereminding everyone of Geno's awesomeness:


Malkin gave us plenty of reasons to smile this season, but the biggest probably came when he traded his Pens jersey for his Sunday best and his goal celebrations for an endearingly-honest speech.

For reasons I still don't comprehend, Pens fans try to tag his name to NHL 13-esque deals and spend extra time nit-picking his game. Malkin is a gem of the organization and looking at how other Russian players have petered out as their time in the NHL passes, he has continued polishing his game and shows no sign of contentment.

Those are the players you want on a team.

Even with his superior skill set, Malkin is as unpretentious as they come (as you can see in his speech) and it's because of his honest appreciation and love for his teammates (present and former) and the Pens organization. It doesn't matter that his English can be difficult to decipher, the meaning behind his jumbled sentences couldn't be clearer.

We adore you to bits, Geno. Happy birthday. Please, never change.

...unless you feel like netting 60 next season.

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