Malkin to debut tonight; Russian club sues NHL, Pens

Updated: October 18, 2006, 2:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, out since injuring a shoulder in his first preseason game, will make his NHL debut Wednesday night against New Jersey.

Malkin, the No. 2 pick in the 2004 NHL draft, dislocated his shoulder Sept. 20 while colliding with teammate John LeClair behind the net. He returned to practice Friday with a shoulder support and has been cleared to resume playing.

"I'm a little bit nervous before every game, but I'm not going to be too much more nervous before the first one," Malkin said through a translator after practice Monday. "But we will see how it goes."

In 2005-06, Malkin had 47 points in 46 games for Magnitogorsk in the Russian Super League and six points in seven games for Russia at the Torino Olympics. He left the Magnitogorsk team when it arrived for training camp in Finland in August and made his way secretly to the United States, where he signed with the Penguins.

According to a report on TSN of Canada's Web site, Magnitogorsk filed suit against the NHL and Penguins on Wednesday, contending that it had a valid contract with Malkin and seeking an injunction to keep him from playing professionally in North America. According to TSN, an initial hearing is expected within the next three weeks, and a preliminary decision could come within a week after that.

Until last month, Malkin was widely considered the best player in the world not in the NHL. He is an excellent passer and playmaker and made several standout plays in the exhibition game before getting hurt.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.