MOSCOW — Evgeni Malkin wants to go to the Olympics next February and he hopes the Pittsburgh Penguins will allow him to do it.
Malkin told Russian sports daily Sovetsky Sport he was surprised by the NHL's announcement Monday that it wouldn't halt its season for players to go to South Korea.
"There's nothing good about this at all. We're going to think, make calls, get advice, talk with other hockey guys," Malkin said. "However many interviews I read with other players, no one gets this decision. How can the NHL not let us have this? ... Until the last minute I believed that good sense would prevail. I didn't want to waste words. I thought the NHL would still go to the Olympics."
If Malkin is allowed to go the Olympics by Pittsburgh, he could join fellow Russian star Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, who have said they want to play in South Korea. The league has not indicated how it will handle the wishes of individual players who want to play in the Olympics.
The NHL had participated in the last five Olympics, but decided this time around it wasn't worth halting its season. It said negotiations with the International Ice Hockey Federation, players' union and International Olympic Committee had not gone anywhere.
Malkin questioned why talks didn't continue for longer, pointing out that a final decision on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, wasn't reached until the previous July.
"They said the same thing, that the time zones will mess you up, that NHL stars can get injured, that the NHL doesn't earn anything from the Olympics," he said. "In the end they reached a deal and we played in Sochi. And now what, they just put a stop to it in early April already?"
"My opinion is that I want to go to the Olympics," he added.