Upbeat Malkin talking good game for Penguins – NHL.com

CRANBERRY, Pa. — Evgeni Malkin was in a good mood Saturday.

After scoring twice in a morning scrimmage, the 31-year-old center held his first media session during Pittsburgh Penguins training camp. He smiled while being asked if he missed speaking with local reporters.

Malkin then held court for nearly eight minutes.

“I’m excited to be back on the ice and see the new faces in the room, you know?” Malkin said. “See my old friends here. It’s good to be back. It’s my second hometown.”

The normally reserved Penguins center rarely speaks. When he does, it almost always entertains, but for no more than a few minutes.

Saturday was different. Malkin was willing to joke about everything from linemate Phil Kessel’s new hairstyle (“I like it so much better. … He looks amazing”) to his own “genetic” basketball skills.

Tweet from @malkin71_: Ball time ������ pic.twitter.com/4scrdTk5jD

The mood might change when the regular season starts. For now, Malkin is basking in the Penguins’ prospects of winning the Stanley Cup for a third straight season, which would be the longest run of success in the NHL since the New York Islanders won four consecutive Cup titles from 1980-84.

“We understand how to win,” Malkin said. “It doesn’t matter which team we have. We win in 2009, it’s a different team; 2016 and 2017 [were] pretty much the same team. But we understand that we need to work every day, try to support each other.”

Malkin was even jovial discussing his recent run of injuries, including an upper-body injury that kept him out of the final 13 regular-season games in 2016-17. The explanation Malkin provided for his apparent lack of luck sounded simple enough.

“I’m old,” he said.

Like defenseman Kris Letang, who is returning from season-ending neck surgery, Malkin

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