If Malkin's story is true, he won't... He played the KHL and hated every second in it. He's really notoriously quiet here, and is relatively left alone because Crosby takes all the heat/questions and the local reporters know Malkin likes to be basically left alone to his own devices.
Supposedly that was a big reason he wanted to stay here and worked out something to do so that wasn't as much as he could've made going anywhere else. Anyway though, he was, I guess, hounded in the KHL by media and it really bugged him. I hope that remains true.
That's what I have read anyway... take it for what it is. I'm hopeful he doesn't decide to pull a move like that. I think it was pretty BS on Kovalchuk's part. He always seemed like he had no heart anyway, IMO. Maybe he just really was missing his home/family though? Who knows. I know Malkin did but his mother/father come here and stay with him frequently. They're kind of local celebs and sit with season ticket holders they've become close to or something... His mother's Borscht recipe has become a kind of local thing at some restaurants too. It's goofy.
Ultimately you never know what these guys are thinking though, and tax free in Russia's awful tempting for those guys... You'd think they'd want to play where the real competition is though, and it's not there. Maybe I put too much stock in the whole, "I want to compete at the highest level and win at the highest level" thing I figure athletes have ingrained in them. Maybe just wishful thinking. It's really disappointing though, to see quality players leave over basically money and maybe a tinge of homesickness?
I tend to ignore national media except some Canadian news... I prefer local guys, and I doubt they beat this topic to death, but I'll let you know if it comes up again and again... One local show/group I kinda like, I bet it does.
One A-Hole I can't stand on the radio station here that carries Pens games, Mark Madden, I bet brings this subject up... a lot... but I don't listen to him much. He's a huge jagoff.