Penguins Notebook: Therrien pleased by Malkin ruling

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Penguins coach Michel Therrien watched this summer as the news about whether Russian forward Evgeni Malkin would be joining the Penguins kept changing.

"I was not concentrating on the negative; I was concentrating on the positive," Therrien said yesterday. "I was always positive. I was not that worried."

Therrien's faith paid off when Malkin left his Russian Super League team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and signed with the Penguins. Twelve games into his NHL career, Malkin has nine goals, 15 points and is among the league's rookie leaders in several categories.

Wednesday, Therrien's faith was further rewarded when federal judge Loretta A. Preska denied Magnitogorsk's request for a preliminary injunction and ruled that Malkin is eligible to remain with the Penguins the rest of the 2006-07 season. The team plays tonight at Buffalo.

"It's such great news for us," Therrien said. "We were confident that was going to be the case, but you always have that in the back of your mind, so it's a good thing that the case has been settled."

Magnitogorsk will have to decide if it wants to appeal the ruling.

"I don't think too many of us were aware of it," said frequent Malkin linemate Sidney Crosby. "I wasn't even aware that it was going on. I just saw [yesterday] that they allowed him to play the rest of the season. I never knew it was a question that he was going to play the rest of the season.

"But I'm sure now that it's done, it's something that's off his mind."

Malkin, who doesn't speak English and occasionally does interviews through an interpreter, has been asked by the Penguins not to comment on the legal proceedings.

A book about Crosby

Crosby said he hasn't seen or read Canadian writer Shawna Richer's new book, "The Rookie: A Season with Sidney Crosby and the New NHL."

"I have a pretty good memory of what's going on," he said, smiling. "I don't have to read about it yet."

Richer spent last winter chronicling Crosby's rookie season.

Staal finds home

The three youngest Penguins, who also are the team's past three first-round draft picks, are living with older teammates.

Malkin, 20, is staying with defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Crosby, 19, is in his second season living with retired Hall of Famer and lame-duck team owner Mario Lemieux. Tuesday, Jordan Staal, 18, moved out of a hotel and into winger Mark Recchi's guest house.

"It starts to get old, and I'm happy to be out of [the hotel] and getting comfortable," said Staal, who had been living in a hotel since the start of rookie camp in early September and had to wait until late last month to see whether he would stick with the Penguins or be returned to his junior team.

Slap shots

Therrien said goaltender Jocelyn Thibault will make his third start tonight, with Marc-Andre Fleury scheduled to start tomorrow night at home against the New York Rangers. ... Penguins center Maxime Talbot, who missed practice Wednesday for personal reasons, returned yesterday. ... Keith Wehner, the Penguins' general manager of media relations the past six years, resigned. ... Buffalo defenseman Brian Campbell on being on the NHL All-Star ballot: "What ballot is that for -- the American Hockey League?"


Shelly Anderson can be reached at shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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