Hockey

Malkin flees Russian club: report

Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins number one pick in 2004, has disappeared days after agreeing to a new deal with his Russian club, local media reported on Saturday.

Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh PenguinsNo. 1pick in 2004, has disappeared days after agreeing to a new deal with his Russian club, local media reported on Saturday.

A source with Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk told Russian news agency Itar-Tass that Malkin has fled from the team's training camp in Finland.

"Malkin secretly left the club, taking his belongings and his passport," the source said.

Earlier in the week, he and Metallurg annulled a previous contract that would have had him play through April 2008. He instead signed a one-year deal.

The talented Russian, 20,has often stated a desire to play in the NHL. But the Russian club refused to sign a transfer agreement with the NHL earlier this month.

"His wish is to play in the NHL, and in Pittsburgh," his agent J.P. Barry said earlier this week.

"We will continue to talk to him about his future, and we will decide the best course for him at this time."

Malkin was the second player selected in the 2004 draft, behind fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin, who beat out Canada's Sidney Crosby to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

If Malkin is attempting to defect, he would be the best-known hockey player to do so since Alexander Mogilny left the Soviet team following the world junior championships in Sweden in 1989. Mogilny defected to the United States and joined the Buffalo Sabres.

With files from Associated Press

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