Ottawa Citizen

Malkin confident he’ll stay with Pens

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PITTSBURGH •

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin said he expects to sign a contract extension to stay with the team, according to a report published Friday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Malkin, who has one year left on his original contract, told the paper that he expects to sign an extension ‘‘soon’’ after July 1, when the Penguins are eligible to extend his contract.

‘‘I’m thinking maybe five or six years,’’ Malkin told the Tribune-Review. ‘‘I’m an easy guy to deal with. I’d love to stay in Pittsburgh.’’

The Penguins did not comment on the report.

Malkin, a 21-year-old Russian who helped Pittsburgh reach the Stanley Cup final against the Detroit Red Wings was a Hart Trophy finalist.

Meanwhile, the Penguins announced yesterday they have elected to file for salary arbitratio­n with goaltender Marc-André Fleury.

“By filing for salary arbitratio­n it gives us extra time to continue to negotiate a contract with Marc-André,” said Penguins general manager Ray Shero.

“As a result of the filing, Penguins' fans are assured that Marc-André will be under contract to our club for next season. … We remain committed to negotiatin­g a contract with him in the near future.’’

The 23-year-old played 35 games this past season, posting a 19-10-2 record with a 2.33 goals-against average.

But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 entry draft came into his own during the playoffs, compiling a 14-6 record with a 1.97 GAA average in leading the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final.

TRUCKER UP IN ARMS OVER OCTOPUS

A Texas truck driver says he has filed suit against the Detroit Red Wings for their practice of allowing octopus tossing at Joe Louis Arena.

San Antonio native Patrick Greene told the Detroit News he was “nauseated” after watching a news story on television documentin­g the octopus toss.

“I called my wife over to the TV, and said, ‘Look at this.’ She said, ‘Why, that’s horrible,’ ” said Greene. “(Who would) treat an animal, alive or dead, like it’s some kind of toy?’’

Greene says he has a right to file the suit because “every human being has the universal responsibi­lity of protecting all domestic and wild animals of the world. The octopus ... deserves to be allowed to live its life in peace.”

“He’s obviously very passionate about his position, and I respect that,” Karen Cullen, representa­tive for Ilitch Holdings, owner of the Red Wings, told the News. “We’ll review his concerns and then respond.”

HOLIK EXPECTS TO MOVE ON

Atlanta Thrashers captain Bobby Holik expects he has played his last game in Atlanta.

The 37-year-old centre becomes an unrestrict­ed free agent on July 1 and believes there hasn’t been much of an effort on the part of the Thrashers to retain his services.

“I’m pretty much resigned to the fact I’m not going to be part of their future,” Holik told the Atlanta JournalCon­stitution. “I’ve got to look forward.

“It doesn’t hurt me. I feel bad for some of the younger players, because they’re going to have a third captain in three years, very likely.”

Holik has scored 322 goals and 416 assists in 1,252 career NHL games with the Hartford Whalers, New Jersey, New York Rangers and the Thrashers. He scored 15 goals and 19 assists this past season.

Thrashers general manager Dave Waddell disagreed with Holik’s take on the contract situation, but the newspaper reported yesterday that he wouldn’t elaborate.

AVALANCHE SEES BUSY DAYS AHEAD

Colorado Avalanche general manager François Giguère could have a busy time leading up to next week’s NHL draft, with the potential signing of defencemen Adam Foote and Kurt Sauer.

Both could become unrestrict­ed free agents on July 1.

“We’re looking forward to having another discussion some time in the near future,” Rick Curran, Foote’s agent, told the Rocky Mountain News. “I would suspect at the latest we’ll get an opportunit­y of speaking when we're both in Ottawa for the draft.”

Foote, 36, scored one goal and had 15 assists last season while earning $4.6 million US.

He was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in February at a cost of a first-round draft pick (19th overall) at the league’s entry draft to be held next week in Ottawa. The Jackets will also get a fourth-round pick next summer if Foote re-signs with the Avs.

Sauer, 27, finished the season as Foote’s defence partner, scoring a goal and five assists in 54 games. Ben Hankinson, Sauer's agent, is hopeful something can be worked out

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