Wednesday, October 18, 2006

(Disclaimer: Strong language. If you've never seen Shawshank Redemption, you have definitely missed the boat in life.)

[Evgeni Malkin reading a letter left in LAX, Los Angeles Airport]

Dear Evgeni,

If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? (Pittsburgh)

I could use a good man to help me get my Dynasty on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and a hockey stick ready.
Remember, Geeno...Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.

Your friend,

This is the story of Evgeni "Dufresnse" Malkin, the man who crawled through a river and ocean of shit and came out clean on the other side. Evgeni Malkin. Headed for the Three Rivers.


Red - Sergei Gonchar

The Warden - Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s owner Viktor Rashnikov

Bogs - Craig Patrick

Brooks Hatlen - Eddie Johnston

Byron T. Hadley - John Leclair

Tommy Williams - Mario Lemieux


Andy Dufresne - Evgeni Malkin

Gonch: There must be a defenseman like me on every team in the NHL. I'm the guy who can get it for you. A goal on the powerplay, a break-up on a two-on-one, a bag of reefer, if that's your thing. Damn near anything within reason. Yes sir, I'm your regular NHL defenseman.
So, in 2006, when the Penguins asked me if I could provide housing for Evgeni Malkin while he adapted to life in the U.S., I said no problem.


Gonch: Word got around, though. It seemed that the Sisters had taken a liking to Malkin. Especially Craig Patrick.

Malkin Tell me something. Would it help if I explained to them I'm not homosexual?

[Malkin is doing laundry and finds Craig Patrick in the aisle blocking his way. John Davidson looms from the shadows. To his right is Gary Bettman.]

Gonch: I wish I could tell you that Malkin fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that, but Russia is no fairy-tale world.

Rashnikov: I believe in two things: the left-wing lock and the Bible. Here you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; but your ass belongs in the neutral zone. Welcome to Magnitogorsk.

[Malkin plods through his days. Working. Taking wristers in the rec yard, stick handling and shaping his curve after lights-out]

Gonch: Things went on like that for a while. Hockey life consists of routine, and then more routine.

Gonch: And that's how it went for Malkin. That was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him. And I also believe if things had gone on that way, Magnitogorsk would have got the best of him. But then, in the spring of 2005, the powers-that-be decided that he would play for the Russians in the Olympics. It was competitive hockey, and the Olypmics is one damn fine tourney to be playing in.


Malkin overhears Leclair talking to Eric Lindros

Leclair: So this hotshot GM calls from Pittsburgh, and he says, John Leclair? I say, yeah. He says, sorry to inform you, but we want to sign you.
Lindros: Damn, Johnny. Sorry to hear that
Leclair: They want to sign me for a million bucks
Lindros: A million bucks? Jeez-Louise! That's great! That's like winnin' the sweepstakes!
Leclair: Dumb sucker. What do you figger the government's gonna do to me? Take a big wet bite out of my ass, is what. Plus Pittsburgh sucks. What if I get hurt?
Malkin: Mr. LeClair, do you trust Mark Reechi?
LeClair: That's funny. You'll look even funnier with a dislocated shoulder.
Malkin: What I mean is, do you think he'd go behind your back? Try to hamstring you?
Leclair: That's it! Step aside, this guy's shoulder is havin' an accident!
Malkin:: If you want to keep that money, all of it, just get the Pens sign Reechi too. See, they are dumb enough to do it. And he will raise your contract up.

Gonch: ...And that's how it came to pass, that on the second-to-last day of the tourney, the Russian team that played in the Turin games in the winter of 2006 wound up sitting in a row at ten o'clock in the morning, drinking icy cold Lemon Lime Gatorade courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Magnitogorsk State Prison...As for Malkin, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his Gatorade.


I have no idea to this day what those two guys said at the 2004 entry draft. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they said something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful penguin flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away... and for the briefest of moments -- every last man at Magnitogorsk felt free.


'Bout 7 years ago, I was in Pittsburgh on a 5 to 6 stretch. Bought the Penguins; smart thing to do. Five years after I bought the team, I get the second overall pick in the 2004 entry draft. The Capitals had the first pick. One night, like a joke, I say: "Yea, Washington, who you gonna pick?" They say Ovechkin. That meant we would pick Evgeni Malkin.


Rashnikov: Well, I have to say, that's the most amazing story I've ever heard. What amazes me more is that you were taken in by it. It's obvious this fellow Lemieux is impressed with you. He hears your tale of woe and quite naturally wants to cheer you up.
Malkin: I think he's telling the truth.
Rashnikov: Let's say for a moment this "NHL" exists. You think Russia would just let you leave?
Malkin: It wouldn't matter. With a new transfer agreement, I'd be guaranteed to go to America.
Rashnikov: (shakes head)
Malkin: Well, it's a chance, isn't it? How can you be so obtuse?
Rashnikov: What did you call me? Guards! In here! Get him out of here! Fourth line...a month!!
Malkin: What's the matter with you? It's my chance to get out, don't you see that? It's my life!! Don't you understand it's my life?!?!
Rashnikov: Get him out...GET HIM OUT!!!!

[Malkin on fourth line]
Rashnikov: Are liking the fourth line?
Malkin: I'm done. I'm done running your fourth line. It all stops.
Rashnikov: NO, nothing stops. I'll take you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the St. Louis Blues. Nothing stops. Fourth line, another month.


EJ: Dear Fellas,

I can't believe how fast things move in the new NHL. I saw a breakout once when I was young. Now they're everywhere, goals coming from everywhere. Fans chant faster and louder. Ken Sawyer got me into this job as hockey operations manager, and a job bagging groceries at the Giant Eagle in the Southside.... It's hard work. I try to keep up, but my head hurts from when I got hit in the head by that puck in Washington. I don't think the store manager likes me very much; he is a huge Steelers fan. Sometimes after work, I go to Schenley Park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Badger Bob Johnson might show up and say hello, but he never does. I hope wherever he is, he is doing OK, and thinking about our magical run in 1991. I have trouble sleeping at night. I have bad dreams, like I'm watching David Volek end our dynasty. I wake up scared.
Maybe I should get me a terrible towel and burn it so they'd send me home. But I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense anymore. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being around the Steeler Nation. I've decided not to stay.
I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old time hockey coach like me.

P.S. Tell Markus Naslund I'm sorry I got him traded.

No hard feelings,


Malkin I didn't pull the trigger Gonch. That's why we lost . Because of me, the way I am.
Gonch: Feel bad about it if you want. But you didn't pull the trigger because you're a playmaker, you were looking to make a pass. I know you didn't shoot.
MalkinNo. I didn't. Someone else did, and I wound up here. Bad luck, I guess. It floats around. Has to land on somebody. It was my turn, that's all. I was in the path of the Goalie. (softly) I just had no idea the storm would go on as long as it has. (glances to him) Think you'll ever get out of here?
Gonch: Yea, when I got a long white beard and a bum knee and I score about three goals a year.
Malkin :Tell you where I'd go. Pittsburgh...
Gonch: Pittsburgh?
Malkin:Western PA. Little place right on the Three Rivers. You know what the Pittsburghers say about the Three Rivers? They say Pittsburgh has the best fans in professional sports. That's where I'd like to finish out my life, Gonch. A cold place with no memory. Score 600 goals, raise Lord Stanely's cup a few times.
Gonch: Three Rivers? Hell. Likely to scare me to death, somethin' that big.
Malkin:Not me, whatever mistakes I made. I've paid for and then some. That city and those Stanely Cups...I don't think it's too much to want. To look at the Mellon Arena after a playoff game. Touch the ice. Feel free.
Gonch: Goddamn it, Geni, stop! Don't do that to yourself! Talking shitty pipedreams! Pittsburgh down there, and you're in here, and that's the way it is!
Malkin: You're right. It's down there, and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really.
Get busy Playing or get busy Sitting.


Gonch: I guess when Malkin's Magnitogorsk team visited Finland for training camp, Evgeni decided he'd been there long enough.
In 2006, Malkin escaped Magnitogorsk. All they found of him was a muddy set of hockey gloves, a bar of soap, and an old hockey stick damn near worn down to the nub.
Evgeni did like he was told. Buffed those hockey skates to a high mirror shine. The equipment manager simply didn't notice; neither did I. I mean, seriously. How often do you look at a man's hockey skates?
Evgeni crawled to freedom through five-hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine. Or maybe I just don't want to. Five-hundred yards. That's the length of seven and a half hockey rinks.

[Rashnikov reads the AP news story of Malkin leaving Finland. Rashnikov goes to the safe in his office and opens it. Inside is a copy of the October 18th Ice-Time game program. On page 71, he reads an inscription: were right. Salvation lies within.

Gonch: I like to think that the last thing that went through Rashnikov's mind, before realizing that Konstantin Koltsov was now his main attraction, was wondering how the hell Evgeni Malkin could've got the best of him.


Malkin: I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only an NHL player can feel; an NHL player at the start of a long career whose conclusion is uncertain.
I hope I can make it across the Fort Pitt Bridge. I hope to see my friend Gonchar and live in his house. I hope the Mellon Arena ice is as white as it has been in my dreams.

I hope...


Anonymous said...

this could be the funniest thing i have ever read on the internet.

great blog, btw.

Anonymous said...

you guys had 2 rework things a lil bit, but its hilarious.

Brian said...

wow great job, shawshank is one of my favorites. hilarious spoof on the quotes/story line. too bad sid doesn't have a character :(

Adam said...

We thought longer than we should have about Crosby getting a role. We just couldn't fit him in by any stretch of the imagination.
Thanks for reading the blog.

Anonymous said...

yea, what the hell where's sid?????

Doug said...

Funniest thing I have read in a long time. Especially the Brooks (EJ) letter.

Caitlin said...

cept for leavin sidney out, this post is awesome.

don't know how many girl readers you have, but you can add 2 to your total!! Me and my friend adore this site!

Derek said...

Thanks everyone for the comments..

We had to change the story a little bit but it was really fun to write.

We tried to get sid in it just didn't make sense, feel free to let us know what you would change.

Go pens

Brian said...

I think it's great the way it is. I agree Crosby doesn't really fit into the storyline unless he meets up with Geno and Gonch in Pittsburgh and they build a boat or maybe even a franchise lol. My favorite lines were Malkin asking Rashnikov to be sent to the NHL and "All they found of him was a muddy set of hockey gloves, a bar of soap, and an old hockey stick damn near worn down to the nub."

Anonymous said...

LMFAO Hockey Fan Fiction.. but still semi-true. This is hilarious... XD

IhateVince said...

ive been on the pblolg for a while now and i just saw this now, frickin genius. one of the best movies, and i always noticed you guys' refrences to red and andy. haha craig patrick as the rapist. Go Pens.

Dubs said...

I'm a noober on the site (but not to the Pens) your Magnitogorsk Redemption was a beautiful interpretation of the movie ... very moving ... I assume you've shopped it around Broadway?

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