|Born||July 31, 1986 |
Magnitogorsk, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||212 lb (96 kg; 15 st 2 lb)|
|National team||Template:Country data RUS|
|NHL Draft||2nd overall, 2004|
Evgeni is also known for his incredible skill set and ability to make plays, earning him a reputation as one of the best players in the NHL.
Chosen second overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni's career in the NHL was delayed because of an international transfer dispute until 2006–07 in which he captured the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's best rookie.
In his second season, he helped carry Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final series and was a runner-up for league's MVP award, the Hart Memorial Trophy.
The following season, Evgeni won the Art Ross Trophy which is awarded to the top-scorer in the NHL and again finished runner-up for the Hart Trophy while he and the Penguins won the Stanley Cup championship and Evgeni won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
A second Art Ross Trophy was earned after the 2011–12 season in which Evgeni's 12-point margin was the largest since 1999.
On June 20, 2012, Evgeni was named the Hart Memorial Trophy winner as the league's MVP, for the 2011-12 season.
Internationally, Evgeni has competed for Russia in two IIHF World U18 Championships and three IIHF World U20 Championships, capturing one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal, as a junior.
In 2006 (in addition to a silver medal), he was also named tournament MVP. As a senior, Evgeni has played in four IIHF World Championships, winning the gold medal and being named the tournament MVP for the 2012 event.
In addition, Evgeni has won the bronze medals in two other World Championships and has played for team Russia during the last two Winter Olympic Games in Turin and Vancouver.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Evgeni is a product of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk hockey program. Prior to being drafted, he made his Russian Superleague debut in the 2003–04 season when he was 17 years old.
He also made his international debut for Russia during the 2003 U-18 World Championships, where he skated on the top line with Alexander Ovechkin. The team went on to claim the bronze medal.
Transfer Dispute[edit | edit source]
After his first professional season in Russia, Evgeni was drafted 2nd overall (behind national teammate Alexander Ovechkin) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, however, a transfer dispute between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) delayed his Pittsburgh debut.
On August 7, 2006, it appeared that the 20-year-old Evgeni had come to a compromise with Metallurg and signed a deal that would have kept him in Russia until May of 2007, however, he stated that he signed the one-year contract not as a compromise but because of the immense "psychological pressure" his former club exerted on him.
Desiring to play in the NHL, Evgeni left Metallurg Magnitogorsk's training camp in Helsinki, Finland, before it had started on August 12th.
Later, it would appear that the team had taken his passport away to prevent him from leaving, but it was eventually given back to him and Evgeni was allowed to pass through Finnish customs.
Meeting with his agent, J.P. Barry, the two of them quickly departed and waited for Evgeni's visa clearance from the U.S. Embassy.
In order to legally leave the team, on August 15, Evgeni invoked by fax a provision of Russian labor law that allowed him to cancel his one-year contract by giving his employer two weeks notice.
Having untied himself of obligations in Russia, Evgeni was able to sign an entry-level contract with the Penguins on September 5, 2006.
Following his first NHL game with Pittsburgh on October 19, 2006, Evgeni's former Russian hockey club filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NHL and the Penguins in the United States District Court for the southern district of New York.
The lawsuit claimed that Evgeni should not be permitted to play in the NHL because he is still under contract in Russia. The claim also sought unspecified monetary damages.
However, the motion for an injunction was denied on November 15, 2006 ensuring that Evgeni would continue play in the NHL that season. The lawsuit was furthermore dismissed by the District Court on February 1, 2007.
Pittsburgh Penguins[edit | edit source]
On September 20, 2006 (in his first preseason game as a Pittsburgh Penguin), Evgeni collided with teammate John LeClair and dislocated his shoulder which forced him to miss the start of the season.
Subsequently, Evgeni's NHL debut would be delayed until October 18, against the New Jersey Devils in which he would score his first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur.
To begin his NHL career, Evgeni set a modern-day record as the first player to score at least one goal in each of his first six games. No player had achieved this feat since the league's inaugural season in 1917–18, when Joe Malone scored at least one goal in 14 consecutive games to start his NHL career.
However, Malone's mark was set when technically every player was playing in his first NHL season; he had already played almost a decade in the league's predecessor, the NHA. Evgeni's streak was eventually stopped in his seventh game by the San Jose Sharks.
Playing on a team with fellow phenom Sidney Crosby, Evgeni finished his rookie season with 33 goals and 85 points, leading all first-year players and capturing the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
Evgeni was also noted for his very good playing skills and was put as assistant captain for the Penguins shortly after.
When Evgeni arrived in the United States, he spoke no English, but through the help of fellow Russian and teammate Sergei Gonchar and his cousins, he eventually started to give short, simple interviews in the language.
Affectionately, Evgeni is known by the nickname "Geno," a play on his first name "Evgeni" by his fellow Pittsburgh Penguins teammates. Although he does not spell it "Geno" everybody else does.
There are several stories in which teammates would text Evgeni to go out to dinner and his responses would be "Da" or "$". The teammates had no idea what those responses meant, but when Evgeni replied with "$" he would be at dinner and when he replied "Da" he would not show up.
They surmised the $ meant yes and the Da meant no. Evgeni's Russian friend Gonchar eventually left Pittsburgh and signed with Ottawa leaving him forced to learn more of the English language.
In his sophomore season, Evgeni recorded his first NHL hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on January 3, 2008. On January 14, 2008, he earned another three-goal performance against the New York Rangers.
Midway through the season, when more heralded teammate and captain Sidney Crosby went down with an ankle injury, Evgeni seized the opportunity to lead the Penguins, scoring 44 points in the 28 games Crosby was absent.
In total, Evgeni completed the season 2nd in NHL scoring with 106 points, six points behind Alexander Ovechkin for the Art Ross Trophy. He continued to dominate into the playoffs as the Penguins made it to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.
Evgeni scored three points against Detroit in the finals, totaling 22 points overall, but the Penguins were defeated by Detroit in six games.
Evgeni's sophomore season culminated in a Hart Memorial Trophy nomination as league MVP—the award was given to Ovechkin—and First Team All-Star honors. On July 2, 2008 (with one year left in his entry-level contract), he signed a contract extension with the Penguins for $43.5 million over five years.
Evgeni began the 2008–09 season by scoring his 200th NHL point with an assist to Sidney Crosby on October 18, 2008.
The goal was Sidney's 100th career goal and 300th career point. Sidney had a team trainer cut the puck in half so both players could commemorate the moment.
Voted as a starter to the 2009 NHL All-Star Game later in the season, Evgeni won the shooting accuracy segment of the Skills Competition, initially shooting four-for-four before beating Dany Heatley three-for-four in a tie-breaker.
After having finished runner-up to Alexander Ovechkin the previous season for the Art Ross Trophy, Evgeni captured the scoring championship with 113 points.
Evgeni became the second Russian-born player to win it, after Ovechkin, and the fourth Penguin after Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Crosby, however, he would once again be runner-up to Ovechkin for the Hart Memorial Trophy although this time garnering a few more first-place votes.
In 2008, Evgeni had just one first-place vote (out of 134 votes) and 659 points to Ovechkin's 128 first-place votes and 1,313 points.
In 2009, Evgeni had 12 first-place votes (out of 133 votes) and 787 points to Ovechkin's 115 first-place votes and 1,264 points.
On June 12, 2009, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 2–1 in game 7 of the finals.
Evgeni tallied 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) to become the first player to lead both the regular season and playoffs in scoring since Mario Lemieux accomplished the feat in 1992.
Evgeni's 36 points were the highest playoff total of any player since Wayne Gretzky amassed 40 points in 1993. He received the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, becoming the first Russian-born and Asian-born player to do so.
Evgeni is also just the second player in franchise history to win both the Art Ross and Conn Smythe trophies in the same year. The other Penguin to accomplish this feat was Hall of Famer and team co-owner/president Mario Lemieux (1992).
On February 4, 2011, after missing five games due to a left knee injury and a sinus infection, Evgeni returned to play against the Buffalo Sabres. At the start of the second period, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers collided with him against the end-boards, injuring his right knee.
Evgeni was helped off the ice and went straight to the dressing room, unable to return to the game as he suffered both a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). On February 9th, it was announced that he would undergo knee surgery.
The Penguins estimated Evgeni's recovery period as six months which sidelined him for the remainder of the 2010–11 NHL season and playoffs, but stated that he should be ready for training camp in September.
According to the Penguins' General Manager, Ray Shero, Evgeni sent him a text message after the incident occurred stating, "I'm sorry." In Shero's words, "I told him he had nothing to apologize for."
Evgeni had a bounce-back season in 2011–12. With post-concussion syndrome limiting team captain Sidney Crosby to 22 games, he led the Penguins on a line with newly acquired winger James Neal.
Despite missing seven games due to lingering effects of his knee surgery, Evgeni scored 50 goals for the first time in his career including three hat tricks and won his second scoring title with 109 points.
Evgeni was the only player during the 2011–12 season to score 100 points. He would go on to win the Hart trophy as the leagues most valuable player for his performance in the 2012 season.
Evgeni also became the first player in the past ten NHL seasons to win two scoring titles, putting an end to a streak of nine different players over nine seasons leading the NHL in points.
Despite his impressive season, the Penguins were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Flyers. Evgeni scored eight points in the six -game series.
Following the Penguins' playoff exit, it was announced that Evgeni would again represent Russia at the 2012 World Championships.
With the shortened 2012-2013 season beginning in January, Evgeni would manage 33 points in 31 games. A concussion and shoulder injuries prevented the star forward from appearing in all 48 regular season games.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
International Statistics[edit | edit source]
|Junior int'l totals||30||17||25||42||61|
|Senior int'l totals||49||29||32||61||65|
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
- NHL All-Star Game – 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012
- NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition: "Accuracy Shooting" Winner – 2009
- NHL First All-Star Team – 2008, 2009, 2012
- Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – 2007
- Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP) – 2012
- Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player) – 2012
- Art Ross Trophy (Regular Season Scoring Leader) – 2009 and 2012
- Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP) – 2009
- NHL Stanley Cup Champion – 2009
- NHL 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Point Scoring Leader (36)
- Michel Brière Rookie of the Year Award (Pittsburgh Penguins' Rookie of the Year) – 2007 (shared with Jordan Staal)
- Pittsburgh Penguins' (MVP) – 2008, 2009 and 2012
- NHL Rookie of the Month – October 2006 and November 2006
- NHL's First Star of the Month – February 2008 and December 2011
- NHL's Second Star of the Month – January 2012
- (IIHF) World Championships – (All-Star Team) 2007, 2010, 2012
- ((IIHF) World Championships – (Best Forward) 2012
- (IIHF) World Championships – (Most Valuable Player) 2012
- Kharlamov Trophy - (Best Russian Player in the NHL) 2012
Records[edit | edit source]
- First player since 1917–18 to score goals in each of his first six NHL games (first accomplished by Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Cy Denneny in inaugural NHL season) (Oct 18 – Nov 1, 2006)
- Longest point streak by a Russian player in the NHL–15 games (accomplished twice) (surpassed Dmitri Kvartalnov of the Boston Bruins-14 games in 1992)
- Most consecutive post season games with multiple points for the Pittsburgh Penguins – 6 games (May 9–23, 2009)
- First Russian player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (2009)
- 2nd fastest Russian to score 500 NHL points (413 games) behind Alexander Ovechkin (373 games)
- One of 9 Pittsburgh Penguins players and 1 of 6 Russian-born players to record 50 goals in a regular season 
- Second player (first Russian player) ever to lead both the NHL, and the IIHF World Championships in scoring in the same season. (2011–12) (last accomplished by Wayne Gretzky in 1981-82)
International Play[edit | edit source]
|Competitor for Template:Country data Russia|
|World Junior Championships|
|Silver||2005 Grand Forks|
|World U18 Championships|
Evgeni made his first international appearance with Russia at the 2003 IIHF World U18 Championships in Yaroslavl. He helped Russia to a bronze medal, scoring 9 points in 6 games.
He was named Russia's U18 captain for the 2004 IIHF World U18 Championships the following year and scored 8 points as Russia improved to a gold medal in the tournament.
Several months prior to his second and final U18 tournament, Evgeni debuted at the under-20 level with Russia at the 2004 World Junior Championships. In his first of three tournament appearances, he contributed 5 points in 6 games, but he could not help Russia reach the podium.
The following year, Evgeni finished second in team scoring at the 2005 World Junior Championships to Alexander Ovechkin with 10 points. Led by the duo of Evgeni and Ovechkin (the two had also played together the previous year), Russia won the silver, losing to Canada in the gold medal game.
Later in 2005, Evgeni made his debut with the Russian men's team at the 2005 World Championships. Despite failing to score a goal in the tournament, he contributed 4 assists to help Russia to a bronze medal in Vienna.
In 2006, Evgeni did triple duty for Russia, competing in his third World Junior Championships, his first Winter Olympics, and his second World Championships. He was named the top forward and MVP of the 2006 World Junior Championships in January, captaining Russia to a second straight silver medal and gold medal game loss to Canada.
Less than two months later, Evgeni was given one of the final spots on Team Russia for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin where he helped the team to a fourth-place finish with 6 points in 7 games. Then in May, he played in the 2006 World Championship, where he led Russia in team scoring with 9 points.
Following his NHL rookie campaign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni was named to Team Russia for the 2007 World Championships, where he achieved a personal best for the tournament of 10 points. He played in the first line of team Russia together with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Frolov. He also captured his second World Championships bronze.
Evgeni was selected to play for the Russian Olympic Team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, where he led Team Russia in points yet again with 3 goals and 6 points in 4 games.
Team Russia ultimately lost to Canada in the quarterfinals, finishing 6th overall, which incidentally is their worst placing ever at an Olympic Games (including the former Soviet Union and Unified Team teams).
Evgeni was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP), the best forward and to All-Star Team at the 2012 IIHF World Championship where he scored 11 goals and made 8 assists, winning the scoring league with a total of 19 points. He recorded at least one point in every game played.
Evgeni also had two hat tricks: against Sweden in preliminary round and against Finland in semifinal game. Team Russia won the gold medal.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Evgeni's father Vladimir was a defenseman for the same team he played for in Russia, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. His brother, Denis was also in Magnitogorsk's hockey system.