Evgeni Malkin & the NHL – Are you kidding me ?

I already know that not creating my own ownership group to buy the Penguins will go down as a huge mistake. There are only so many hours in the day, and I didnt have the time, or the expertise in hockey to do it right. My mistake.

Im still an NBA junkie first and foremost, but a long time NHL fan as well. When the Mavs were in Pittsburgh to play the Cavs in a preseason game, I snuck in to Mellon Arena and managed to catch the last period of the Pens – Devils game. Hockey games are fun to go to. Watching the NHL on HDNet is great. But what I say in just 1 period in Pittsburgh was the most exciting glimpse of NHL greatness I have ever seen.

In the 3rd period of a 3-2 game, Malkin took a bullet pass straight to the stick from Sid the Kid Crosby, did a cross over move with a puck, that if Allen Iverson would have done it with a basketball, would have broken several ankles, split two defenders, nothing but net.

I’m a Stars and Pens season ticket holder and have been going to hockey games since I was a kid. This was the first time I literally just stood, my jaw dropping in amazement and just shook my head. The most amazing goal I had ever seen. The entire arena stood and every one just looked at each other with that “Are you kidding me” look. I was with Al Whitley, the Mavs equipment manager who is from Vancouver and we just looked at each other and laughed. It seemed like a minute before the crowd actually cheered. Thats how amazing it was.

The Pens took home a 4-2 W, which was cool. I stopped in the fan shop, picked up my Malkin Sweater for a not so cheap $277 dollars and headed back to the hotel.

The next night was our Mavs Cavs game. I obviously was pumped to bring our Mavs back to my hometown. I had tons of friends there. People I hadnt seen since junior high were coming up and telling me stories. Obviously since it was an exhibition game, things were casual. I got to meet Lebron for the first time. It was just a good start to what would be a fun night.

During the 2nd half, I walked over and sat down with some of my high school buddies who had gotten tickets in the front row behind the Cavs bench. While Im yucking it up with them, with Lebron, DJones, Scott Pollard and others giving me a hard time , the security guard points up to some seats at mid court and lets us know that Malkin is here at the game.

So with Lebron and the Cavs right there, the game going on, my attention turns to how i can run back to the locker room, get my Malkin jersey that I had bought the night before, and then get up to Malkin who barely speaks any English and doesnt know me from Adam, to sign my Malkin Jersey.

So the next time out, I run back to the locker room, get the jersey and a sharpie. I didnt want to create a distraction by shuffling in front of 3 rows of people to get to him from where we were, so i had to spend the next 5 minutes convincing Boafie, my high school buddy to take the trip for me.

After a few minutes of coaxing, Boafie set off on the mission to get an autograph from my new all time favorite NHL player. We obviously were following the treck and when he got to Malkin, watching Boafie try to explain that the jersey was for me to a guy who doesnt speak english. was worth the price of admission. Finally , he just put the jersey in his lap, pen in his hand and pointed. He got it signed.

The Mavs won on last second free throws. The highlight of the night. My autographed Malkin Jersey.

You may or may not be an NHL fan, but if you are a fan of greatness in the making, watch the Pens. Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury , the oldest of the 4 is about 20 years old. All have super star qualities. Crosby and Malkin ? They will not only remind Pens and NHL fans of Mario and Jamir Jagr, but could have them wondering whether watching them play together is what watching Mario and Gretzky playing together would have been like.

65 thoughts on “Evgeni Malkin & the NHL – Are you kidding me ?

  1. New York who thinks loading up on expensive, downside OLD GUYS, plus bringing in blundering journeymen, during the course of the season, I have to thank you for bringing the Mavs to Pittsburgh I have been following them

    Comment by Adidas -

  2. Its is interesting to read there from his teams fans. He is of course made out to be the bad guy by the other owners and the press for his willingness to spend his own money and the way he wears his emotions on is sleeve, win or lose, for all the world to see. As the Mavs started to really get on a roll after you brought the team

    Comment by Stevew -

  3. There from his teams fans. He is of course made out to be the bad guy by the other owners and the press for his willingness to spend his own money and the way he wears his emotions on is sleeve, watch this history in the making. I live in Canada where hockey is the king of sports. You have a rare opportunity to witness magic. Sure Ovechkin is good. Malkin will be better

    Comment by Hreeta -

  4. being able to tie his skates yet still going out on the ice and scoring highlight goals, Malkin is living with Sergei Gonchar, a veteran Russian player who acts as his translator as well as his mentor

    Comment by Stevew -

  5. How lucky (and deserving) Pittsburgh fans are to have a talented YOUNG nucleus and a promising serious Stanley Cup contention future. As a long-time fan (a.k.a. \”sufferer\”) of the New York Rangers, I can only marvel at the guts and the vision of first, Craig Patrick, and now Ray Shero are displaying.

    We have a jerk in the front office in New York who thinks loading up on expensive, downside OLD GUYS, plus bringing in blundering journeymen, during the course of the season (see: Dupuis, Ozolinsh, Kasparaitis, Isbister, Krog, Struckwick, ad nauseum) and signing the Strakas and the Nylander geriatrics of the world to contract extensions, somehow represents giving the Rangers that big shot at winning The Cup.

    Actually, what Sather and so many other myopic GM\’s are about is MAKING THE PLAYOFFS – the dumpy round of 16. To them, that represents \”success\” and to management, of course, a season tix rate hike for next year.

    My compliments to the Penguins, how I wish the Rangers would take a hint, but, alas, our kids who have superstar potential (Bobby Sanguinetti and Marc Staal) are primed for delivery about the time this Pittsburgh aggragation is winning its third Cup. Excuse the rant, but this is painful for me to have to deal with every day of my life.

    Comment by Rob Bonter -

  6. Mark! Help us buddy!!! We can\’t loose the Pens!

    Comment by Paul -

  7. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We need you more than ever, then PENS ARE MOVING!!!

    I cannot believe that they are actually leaving Pittsburgh. We have one of the most promising teams in the NHL and its all coming to an end. I know you were interested in the Pens before, but I hope that you have been watching the headlines and have some insight on the situation. We are all Pittsbugh fans and we are in total shock that they will be leaving……is it too late??????

    Comment by Mike M -

  8. $277 for a Malkin Jersey? You got ripped off! =)

    Comment by Affiliate Network -

  9. Mark I was at the_MAVSgame that night. My buddy and I spoted
    Malkin..and he got to talk to Stahl. We sat 2 rows behind Ben Roethlisberger, and Brett Keisel which was awesome, and
    saw Casey Hampton, Joey Porter, and Mike Logan. I have to thank you for bringing the Mavs to Pittsburgh I have been following them since 1990, It was unreal seeing them live. Dirk is a monster, and I think we really have a great team this year.
    I got to meet you too, I was the guy with the Mavs tatoo on my arm, I caught you at the end of the game, thanks for the pic. Hope you do this again next year, I’ll make sure I get court side seats. GO MAVS!!!

    Comment by Ed Stimpert -

  10. I watched the game and it was one of the most amazing goals i have ever seen but you cant compare Malkin to Mario because the game is different, i mean if the new rules were not in affect that would have been a 2 line pass. I use to live in Mt Lebonan and now i live in Cincy, and believe me i get tons of crap for being a steelers fan in cincy, but my family got the nhl package to see all the games and it is just amazing seeing so many young men just dominate there sport.

    Comment by mike -

  11. I’m glad to know that your part of the greatness in the making as we all are goin to experience as Pens fans. It’s good to know as fans that someone as successful as you can experience this with us.

    Evan

    Comment by Evan -

  12. I just saw this :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nra-N0Zon3k

    Malkin Goal Against Devils,it is really really Amazing , unbelievable.

    Comment by joe -

  13. These young hockey players have increased my interest in the sport. How does Pittsburgh have so much luck in sports?

    Flyers fan

    Comment by David -

  14. Evgeni Malkin is definately one of the future superstars of the NHL. I’m glad you didn’t buy the Penguins because you would have pretty much put them over the top with your money. Although they’re still probably going to win a cup in the next five years, it helps my Leafs chances of winning the cup when you’re not providing the Penguins huge financial support :)

    Comment by Michael -

  15. I don’t comment much, so I may be walking down the wrong path. In short, I wanted your thoughts on the Jesus Camp Movie and it’s ties to the Haggard mess. Feel free to move it to an appropriate subject class. In my only other post, I took the opportunity to float the movie marketing idea for a job. I figured, what the heck, beats doing taxes for a living.

    Crazily, I now accuse you of taking my advice to build a political or social “buzz” into each film. How in the world did you find a crack smoking, closet-gay Evangel, get him to participate in the movie, and then “out” him at or near the release of the Jesus Camp film.

    Brilliance!

    Comment by double d -

  16. I Saw Malkin #71 score 2 goals vs. the Kings and yes, he’s amazing! Mark, don’t make the same mistake, and Pick up the Pirates while they’re still cheap..new stadium and lots of upside..you can infuse some of that Cuban spirit into the franchise..my buddy Nick (fellow Pittsburgh native) and I could
    run the personnel and work it from the minors up … http://www.calsports1.com … I could see a big upswing in attendance if the franchise is run properly … Saul
    http://www.calsports1.com

    Comment by Saul aka Calsports1 -

  17. Worth, I’m not really sure why you think every single hockey player is incomprehensible. Yes, Malkin’s just learning English, but Sidney Crosby is well-spoken and media-friendly. In fact, there are many NHL stars who are articulate on camera (Jarome Iginla springs to mind.) The NHL may have a higher percentage of foreign-born players than the other major leagues, but if that’s really an impediment to Americans enjoying it, then that’s a much bigger problem.

    The real issue is that the NHL under Gary Bettman has not done a great job promoting its product, and until recently allowed that product to lose almost all entertainment value through the clutching and grabbing style of play, coupled with expansion diluting the talent pool. Now that the calibre of play is up and there are marketable young stars emerging, it’s a good time for hockey to take off again in the U.S…if only the media would cover it.

    Comment by Andrew -

  18. Given the past rants on Goog-Tube and now on the NHL — I thought the link below would add value. Google and NHL in a deal to watch current and previous NHL games for free: http://video.google.com/nhl.html

    Comment by Brett Goffin -

  19. I think the NHL is one of the most exciting games to see live. (when they are not striking of course) I don’t even understand all the rules of ice hockey, but I enjoy watching.

    Comment by South Bay -

  20. Cuban,

    Lemieux and Gretzky DID play together. It was called the Canada Cup. They were spectacular and won the Canada Cup over Russia in the Final, with a spectacular goal, Gretzky to Lemieux and it was over!

    I’m surprised you’re not aware of it!

    Comment by mike -

  21. As a new reader of this blog, I am moved to see such renewed enthusiasm for hockey in the USA. Being from Montreal, where kids are usually conceived between the 2nd & 3rd, we had the chance to follow sid crosby evolve thu the juniors leagues.
    With the new NHL rules, the game will favor more a fast and furious style of hockey, rather than the hard hitting style established in the league since the 70’s. I was sure that with less heavy hitting and enforcing penalties, hockey would completly loose the interest of USA viewers. when bowling gets more ratings than hockey, what do you do.. i mean, i know bowling is fun, but it could be better with a stick and some skates… zamboni is off, gotta go..

    Comment by Gilles -

  22. Yes, please, please, please make a bid to purchase the Blackhawks from the Wirtz family and revive hockey in America’s #3 media market.

    As for marketing, I agree, the NHL has been terrible at marketing their stars.

    I hope that the NHLPA will now actively push their players to promote the league more knowing that if they can grow the revenue pie, the more they collectively will get.

    I hope that the NHL will start showing adds (or even buying airtime) outside of hockey telecasts. I don’t see the point of Marty Turco reminding us of the season starting when I am already watching a game.

    I also hope that the NHL will lean on Wirtz to star televising home games in Chicago, and stop his outdated business tactics.

    Finally, I hope that the NHL, the NHLPA, the AHL, ECHL, USA Hockey, and every concievable hockey body in the US will help develop a grass-roots program (even if it is only street hockey) in any city that has any level of hockey (look at the success San Jose has had in only 15 years of existance) and try to develop some more fans of the game amoung the youth, who will be the future ticket-buyers/TV watchers.

    Comment by Gurj in Vancouver. -

  23. The city of Pittsburgh doesn’t deserve the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Staal & Fleury. 90% of the city probably doesn’t know what sport they play. It’s amazing how being such a dysfunctional organization can get you 4 eventual studs.

    Comment by Craig -

  24. Mark i truly believe you’re recent comments about the pens will help tremendously, the fact that you said not buying the team was a mistake means a lot. I’m 17 and i’ve been watching the pens every year since i was about 10 or 11 reguardless of how they did. At one point when we had lang straka and kovalev on a line it was one of the best in the league, we lost all those guys and then some. We had a cinderella story with hedberg (if anyone even remembers him). Then we had nothing, but now we have possibly the best team in the league even though teams like buffalo are undefeated. Our team is the future of the NHL, im a volunteer firefighter and guys get together at the station to watch the games, which happens at a lot of stations. Which i’ve never heard of before… people noticing the pens. With the team being so young it obviously helps the NHL, the attention of younger demographics’ attention is straying a little from the NFL and the NBA (sorry). Now you can watch ESPN’s top ten plays on SC and see hockey stuff instead of the same ole dunk or same ole interception. Hockey is the future as far as sports are concerned.

    and if you get a chance to buy the pens please do, because if you did i think the days of $277 jerseys would be done. I, along with other pittsburgh fans, trust you with one of our teams, ’cause our team is also your team. As far as this ballsilly (or whatever) guy is concerned i dont know if i want him to have any control of OUR team, do you?

    Comment by Gary -

  25. I had no idea you were such a big hockey fan. But I also think it’s hilarious how hard you had to work to get the autograph! Good stuff.

    Comment by girls basketball -

  26. Good luck Mark!! You will be great for the Penguins!!
    I love what you’ve done for the Mavs! Also, take a look at
    my site http://www.thefamousguy.com/
    Everyone should take a look at my site http://www.thefamousguy.com/
    Thanks

    Comment by The Famous Guy -

  27. Andrew, that’s a fair comment. I obviously wasn’t aware of the specific situations regarding the translators/mentors for the guys we are talking about. In a sense though, your words don’t really speak to what I perceive as the big picture issue that I wanted to bring up, and that’s this: Assuming the NHL can get over the fact that their sport is too expensive for youth to play (compared to the big 3, and soccer) and thus get excited about enough as kids to be excited about at as adults, there will never be a “name” player for them with the media exposure even to 1/4 of the level that is afforded merely above average baseball/football/basketball players. There is simply something too “nails on blackboard” about (assuming you already like hockey, even) watching an interview, even with an extremely gifted hockey player, and not being able to understand what they say. Not only that, but the sheer level of exposure is nil when you can’t even film a local market TV or radio spot for Dan’s Towing and RV Sales because noone in Pittsburgh (or God forbid, somewhere less tolerant in this country, like much of the south) can grok what’s coming out of their mouth. The NHL may *try* to be in the business of polishing these guys, but they’re failing. Big time.

    Comment by Worth Wollpert -

  28. C’mon Cuban!

    You care more about getting your autographed jersey than watching the Mavs win! I thought you were loyal! And don’t you realize you got Nowitski on your team! Now there’s an autograph!

    -Rapp

    Comment by Rapp -

  29. hey mark, just wanted to say that you are the best owner in all of sports…thats all…

    Comment by Will -

  30. Hi Mark Cuban,
    Very timely column. Was just watching a feature on Malkin on Sportsnet and was obviously impressed . Even more impressive is the fab four you write of — all 20 and under. What the hell was I doing a 20? Oh ya, J-school. I think, yeah, it would have been a big score for hockey in the U.S. if you had bought the Pens. In fact, as a Canadian, I am first and foremost a hockey fan (and tennis), but most recently, I’m loving basketball for two reasons: you and the Mavs. Well, three actually: I met some Texans in NY during the playoffs who tuned me into my very first Mavs game. Aside from the incredible excitement of the game, I was sold on the characters that make it real: you, Dirk, Avery… The media’s coverage of the characters definitely raise the game for fans. My biggest challenge is now that I’m sold on Mavs ball, how do I be a fan based in TO? Turns out I need to pay about $40 extra a month for the NBA pack on my cable system. That doesn’t seem like much when you look at the expense many incur to follow their fav team/player (i.e. Malkin jersey). But if you’ve never had to pay extra to watch your team on TV, it makes you wince a little bit. I’m willing to pay for good tickets when the Mavs visit TO in Jan. I’ll invest in my first trip to Dallas and see a game. I bought my Nowitzki jersey (which I hope to get signed one day). But to pay more for TV, this seems like my god given free right. So this begs the question, to be a real fan, how much should you be willing to invest. How much, on average, do you think a fan invests/expends on their sports team annually? It really is a marketers world, because marketers (like you) just give people to many great products to choose from — from teams, to players, to paraphenalia. It’s hardly a matter of, am I going to invest myself in this team, it’s really, how much am I going to invest? And then there’s the time investment — am I really going to sched. my life around the TO Maple Leafs sched. and follow most Mavs’ games? I already book two weeks off work during Wimbledon. Where I’m going with all of this is here: Malkin, Crosby, Nowitski, and Cuban..– when we hear about them, see them, we know for sure that it is extraordinary people who ignite new passions, cement old ones, and spark discussion — like right now.
    P.S. Totally loving your “He fine me shirt”. In the most recent issue of Maxim magazine, there is mention of your NBA fines (they really could have used this T-shirt visual). The NBA preview also disses Dirk (yeah, I would get on that).
    P.P.S. This is the first time I have ever blogged.
    Sincerely, Tamara Petrou, Toronto, Canada

    Comment by Tamara Petrou -

  31. Mark,
    Too bad you weren’t able to purchase the Penguins. A PR savy person such as yourself would probably make Pittsburgh a viable franchise. Just look at the 76’ers when Pat Croce was involved.

    Comment by Kevin -

  32. You are seriously my second favorite person in the whole entire world (second only to Malkin, of course.) You need to come back to Pittsburgh and like, buy Balsillie’s life. You should have just hired Lemieux to go through the whole buying process for you. And since you have season tickets, it’s apparent that you can’t make it to every game, you know if you ever have extra tickets that nobody is going to use… ;)
    Anyway, good luck with the Cavs this year, I’ll be busy stuck in an awe-struck state for the entire hockey season, great thanks to most amazing human being ever created, Evgeni Malkin.

    Comment by Sara -

  33. Mark:

    As a Canadian, I like to think that I am genetically disposed to providing insights into hockey that are far beyond what most Americans can comprehend. However, your blog certainly sums up the level of excitement that is available at any NHL game! The speed of the game is superior to football, the hits as good or better, and the skill required is immense. However, my point is not to disparage other pro sports in favour of hockey. No, I just wanted to point out one possible future sore spot to you, a Penguins fan. Jordan Staal, another of their crop of young future superstars hiding in the shadow of Malkin, is playing exceptionally well this season. So much so that he has been kept up on a one-way contract and not returned to junior hockey before the 10 game mark. Why does this matter? Well, now he is eligible for free agency at the same time as a couple o’ other young fellas. You guessed it…the aforementioned Crosby and Malkin. Add Fleury to the mix (provided he lives up to his potential – and I think he well), and you have a contractual conundrum that would baffle even the deepest pocketed owner (said owner of the Mavs even!). With the salary cap, the flightless birds in tuxedos will see their stars snatched away like penguins in a seal pack. This creates parity….but sure sucks from a fan perspective. I love my hockey, but I won’t be buying a jersey (for $277!) anymore in the era of “The Cap”! Maybe it’s time I bought a Nowitzki perhaps….?

    Comment by Ian -

  34. Cubes – we are truly witnessing greatness in Pittsburgh. Every day, I bring up the topic on how the Penguins may actually have taken the spotlight from the Steelers in Pittsburgh. I’m not resting on the Steelers yet, but you’re right, there’s not way you can’t be excited for the Pens.

    And on another note, speaking of Pittsburgh Penguins legends, can we get Mike Lange back on FSN Pittsburgh? You’re a powerful man! I know you have the power to do this.

    Comment by Nik D. -

  35. I didn’t take any time to read others comments, but I wanted to point out to you that Gretzky and Lemieux played together several times for Canada in the Canada cup. The magic was glorious, and as these two superstars develop the hockey world will once again get to see that magic.

    Being a Pittsburgh native, you should also keep tabs on RJ Umberger of Philly (although they are off to a rocky start) who came out of Plum. I must admit though, purchasing the Penguins might have been one of your best endeavors (because you would definately kept them in Pittsburgh)

    Let’s go Pens!

    Comment by Quinn Gable -

  36. I think Mark Cuban owning an NHL franchise will help give the NHL more exposure in the US. I can just see you running on the ice right now arguing a call. Too bad it didn’t happen with the Penguins.

    Comment by frankly -

  37. Great to see you get back to regular blogging Mark. That day to day analysing of Gootube bored the hell out of me.

    Comment by Eddie -

  38. Hello. The brightness of the three offensive stars is dimmed by an enormous white elephant in the room that is the Pittsburgh Penguins: the defense is under sized, not physical, and cannot follow the puck in the zone because they are too slow to get back if we can’t keep the puck in the zone. It looks to me that we’re going to have out-score everyone which will probably start playing with M.A.’s mind a bit, afterall he hasn’t been spectacular in the last few years. Anyhow, thanks for the good PR on the Penguins. Lord knows we’ve been waiting a hell of a long time for this. Here’s to the top of the Atlantic!
    Robert Rider, Pittsburgh

    Comment by Robert Rider -

  39. read the comments about the new you, related to the Cuban Rule…I think the best way around the Cuban rule would become an asistant coach. Just an Idea.

    Comment by John -

  40. They are truly incredible! Great story.

    Thanks Mark

    Comment by Brad Newman -

  41. It’s an incredible moment like this one that can help a sports league overcome the nasty headlines of drug abuse, players strikes etc. I would think that it would be in everyone’s best interest to spread this video clip as much as poissble and not to worry about payment. The payment will come in fan interest and higher ticket sales and tv viewership.

    Comment by Tim from Modular Today -

  42. Mark,

    Sorry about the Pens, but please buy the Blackhawks. You would turn it around. Too bad Dollar Bill Wirtz probably won’t ever sell. The Blackhawks would go from having the worst to the best owner in sports.

    Comment by Brian -

  43. Mark,

    I loved your shirt you wore to the game tonight, the T-shirt jersey #$ (he fine me on the back). When can I buy this on mavgear.com? Make it available, because I’ve got money in my Mavs account :)

    Comment by banpeikun -

  44. Mr. Cuban,
    I found your blog entry on the Pittsburgh Penguins site today and was moved to hear that someone of your stature would feel much the same as any other hockey fan. Your words describe the emotions of many Pens supporters. No matter which Penguin is your favorite, as there are MANY to choose from, it is clear that the effect they have on us is profound. I have also been a hockey fan since childhood and have been inspired by the fresh talent that has emerged in the Burgh! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Comment by Mari Lowery -

  45. i just wanted to get my name on Mark Cuban’s blog.

    Comment by Curtis Branchen -

  46. Not related to this blog entry really, but there’s a great article on Mark, the NBA and David Stern at

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-cuban110306&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Comment by Joe -

  47. Mark,
    I’m soo bummed that you couldnt get in on the pens purchase. This team has so much promise. I really hope to keep them here in the burgh. And as for the comment someone made about purchasing the steelers. It will be a cold day in hell when the Rooneys sell. lol. Im going to eat my Permani sandwich now. later.

    GARY

    Comment by Gary -

  48. Dear Mark, As I am sitting here reading the morning sports stories, this sad effort to stiffle you by the commish and the other out of touch NBA owners speaks volumns about how everyone from our goverment on all levels, our universities and public schools, companies public and private, even home owners association want to dictate to us how they want us to live our lives, because as you know, they really do know better.I am from LA via DC, a life long Skins fan, Snyder might not have it exactly right yet, but at least he tries to put a great product out there from his teams fans. He is of course made out to be the bad guy by the other owners and the press for his willingness to spend his own money and the way he wears his emotions on is sleeve, win or lose, for all the world to see. As the Mavs started to really get on a roll after you brought the team, I would read about you in the press and figured you were another dot.com billionaire with a new toy, totally out of touch with the rest of us. But, I will admit I had the wrong impression of you, you really do passionately care about the team and your fans. I think if you and I were to trade places, I be would hearing from Stern and others, sharing their concerns that I was having a little too much fun as an owner and should act a little more like them , after all, they really do know better. Mark, DO NOT CHANGE, your way is the way any man, every man would want to do things, HIS WAY!!!! I think you should have Avery appoint you as an assistant coach and take a seat at the end of the bench, maybe you could become the teams photoghapher, or the bus driver, then what could the know it alls say. I wish you well, please knock San Antonio out so the Mavs and the Lakers can meet in the west finals, the TV ratings need a shot in the arm. Next time you are in LA, buzz me, I’ll buy you a beer, you can sit with me in the nose bleed seats at Staples with the real fans. Take care, Kirk Menne.

    Comment by Kirk D. Menne -

  49. As a Stars STH, I can’t wait for the Penguins to come to Dallas on January 26. That kid Ovechkin put on a show when the Caps were here last year and I’m sure Crosby and Malkin will do the same thing.

    Comment by Stove -

  50. Nice points all MC…Evgeni and Sidney sittin in the tree, s-c-o-r-i-n-g! As a pens fan in Washington DC, I cannot wait to watch live in December when they arrive to play the Caps. As you point out, the comparison to Lemieux and Jagr is undeniable.

    Spaceeba bloshoi to you MC…let the reign begin to fall all over us Pens fans! As Kramer from Seinfeld would say….”giddy up!”

    Comment by Paul Sharp -

  51. Mark,

    Speaking of sport clothes,that t-shirt you had on last night at the Mavs game ,”He fine me $”, where can I get one? That was so cute!

    If you are not selling those then I’ll just have to make my own. But it will say, “Dirk…..he fine!”

    Comment by Erica -

  52. I got wind of your thoughts of the Penguins acquisition and I was hoping you could pull it off. The NHL needs stronger personalities involved with it – there are only so many Don Cherry’s and Mark Cuban’s in the world.

    I live in the same city where Sidney Crosby is from (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) and have been following him since he was 14. I agree with the Oilers comparison – remember Gretzky was not alone, he had Messier, Kurri, Coffey and Fuhr. There is no doubt in my mind he will be breaking Gretzky’s records and soon.

    I cannot stress enough for the Pittsburgh fans to get out and watch this history in the making. I live in Canada where hockey is the king of sports. You have a rare opportunity to witness magic. Sure Ovechkin is good. Malkin will be better. Crosby was set to greatness before he lined up with Malkin and Staal – now he has the opportunity to become the best ever. And that is not said lightly by a Canadian. Gretzky could run for Prime Minister up here. Heck even the man’s wedding was broadcast live.

    So it’s not always about the Stanley Cup. Records are going to be broken – some that were deemed impossible. Watch it!

    The comment about not speaking english is actually kind of funny. Lemieux couldn’t speak a word of it when he arrived and he kinda flourished didn’t he? The point is you don’t need a language when you are watching magic. It is awe inspiring.

    The biggest problem Pittsburgh will have is keeping them together. They will resign Crosby first, but Malkin and Staal’s contracts expire the same year. Got to keep these guys together!

    I guess now you will be thinking about the missed opportunity every time you use your Blackberry (one of RIM’s canadian founders bought the Penguins) – but here’s hoping he keeps them in Pittsburgh. Got to love the future for those guys!!

    -jim

    Comment by Jim Dorey -

  53. Mr.Cuban…You Rock!!!!
    The first time I laid eyes on Super Mario, I was in 3rd grade. I was sitting with my family (Huge Habs fan) watching the Habs vs. Pens game, then I witnessed the greatest duo I’d ever seen…Lemieux and Jagr! Seeing that team is what motivated me to start playing hockey (even though I was the only girl on the team). Watching Mario fighting cancer and barely being able to tie his skates yet still going out on the ice and scoring highlight goals was what motivated me to excel in hockey and move on to play on the vasity hockey team in University.
    For the past 10 Years the Pens have been struggling to just get a couple wins, but I was always their biggest fan. Im glad to see they’re getting back on track and that you can spot their talent. With another generation of a fantastic duo on the rise, I feeling very hopeful and have a great sense of pride on being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan!

    K. Webb

    Comment by Karolynn Webb -

  54. Worth, Malkin’s been in the country for maybe two months…that’s not a lot of time to learn a new language, culture, etc. But don’t for a second think that NHL times don’t work hard to help their foreign players get accustomed to North American life. Right now, Malkin is living with Sergei Gonchar, a veteran Russian player who acts as his translator as well as his mentor. Meanwhile, look at Alexander Ovechkin; he could barely speak more than a few words of English last year, and while he’s not going to win any public speaking contests yet, he’s improved to the point where he might actually win an open mic night at a comedy club. Within a few years, these guys will be as marketable as anyone else–and even better players to boot. Hopefully then the American media will finally take notice of hockey and all the incredible skill, speed, stamina and entertainment (especially these days) that it offers.

    Comment by Andrew -

  55. Mark, if the Rooney family was ever to sell the Steelers, is it something you would be interested in buying.

    Comment by James Marshall -

  56. A perfect example of the beauty of YouTube… you mention this Malkin wonder-goal and as an American living abroad I have not seen it because I don’t have ESPN. I go to YouTube and voila… awesome! It gets me excited about hockey which I haven’t watched for ages. I might subscribe to Sky Sports this season so I can catch a few NHL games on the tele. Another scenario, I haven’t seen any offical adverts for the new Borat movie but I have seen vid-caps on YouTube of interviews of him on Conan, Letterman and all the morning talk shows. It makes me want to see it more because of how funny he is during the interviews.

    So do the big media companies really want to prevent the broadcast of these unauthorised broadcasts? It is free marketing and they don’t even have to pay anyone to edit and distribute the content. So here’s a Mavs marketing idea for you… have someone edit a post-match highlights show of the Mav’s game and throw it on YouTube. You could even have player specific highlight packages: Dirk’s plays of the the month, etc. Free marketing for the Mavs and the NBA.

    Comment by Brant -

  57. You can’t blame the Russian Super League for wanting a million dollar compensation for losing a million dollar player to the NHL.

    Comment by vans -

  58. Coming from a company who (albeit on a much smaller scale) tries to accomplish star-building with a very internationally diverse group of players as well, there is just no market in the USA for a group of guys who cannot speak English well. I take nothing away from their hockey skills which I’ve heard (from folks other than Mark) are great and the NHL *almost* has me interested given their “new look” league, but the american public is simply not ready to consume a product in which the marquee attraction cannot complete a simple interview in understandable English.

    When I used to work with our show when it aired on ESPN2, I would always cringe when we took random B-roll in a foreign country, because it rarely turned out well. If the NHL was smart, they would assign these marquee young kids some help with the local culture, much like the way the Rockets handled the Yao situation.

    I think Mark’s said it before, and I’ll echo it. If you are in the multi-billion dollar business of professional sports, what better investment can you make for these guys than a couple years of some 1 on 1 English tutoring and an introduction to our culture at their own pace, with someone who speaks their home language but lives here? What are we talking about there money-wise? *Maybe* 300-400k? tops? Peanuts compared to the size of the contracts these guys get.

    I swear, I just don’t get the short-sightedness sometimes. Like Bill Simmons says, most organiztions need a VP of common sense, lol.

    Comment by Worth Wollpert -

  59. While I’m not one to use too much hyperbole, the Penguins just might have the makings of the next 1980s Edmonton Oilers dynasty with young sensations like Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury. Sure, it’s early, but the talent among those four is unbelieveable. Just what the doctor ordered for a beleaguered Pens franchise that hasn’t gotten much love in a lot of years.

    Now the question is: can the city of Pittsburgh do what it takes to keep the Pens in town long term? To let these young superstars-in-the-making get away would be a crime!

    The NHL also needs to learn how to market its sport by focusing on the game’s newly re-discovered speed and skill, and by promoting the hell out of young stars like Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, et al. That’s where the money is for the NHL. It’s sitting right in front of their eyes. I just hope they don’t blow it like they have so many times before.

    Can’t wait to see the Pens come to play the Stars in January. Should be a sizzling evening at AAC!

    Comment by Drew -

  60. I’m not a Hockey fan but I’m a fan of this new Crosby kid. He really has come in and started VERY well. I try to keep tabs on kids like that. I envy the opportunities you have with the jersey signing and things of that nature. Good story today.

    Comment by Browie.com -

  61. Mark,

    tried to post a comment but it wouldn’t verify.

    Long story short, Malkin and Crosby are the starting center tandem on my Yahoo fantasy hockey team. Needless to say, I’m killing my opponents!

    If you’d like to play in our league next year, drop me a line! :)

    Comment by Anand -

  62. Look at the brightside: In a few more years, when they’re up for sale again (this seems to be a pattern, as of late), you’ll get another chance and you can act on it!

    *sigh*

    You could have owned the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Comment by Vincent -

  63. Cuban… you’re the man. My friend and I from Pittsburgh just read this article and we give you so much props man. We watch the mavs because you own them and we’re so happy that you stay true to Pittsburgh.

    Good luck this year man,

    Jarad Coleman & Dave Daley

    Comment by Jarad Coleman -

  64. If you need to brush up on your Russian Language, shoot me an email and let me know.

    Thanks

    Comment by GentleTip.com -

  65. I am lucky to live in Pittsburgh so I get to see them all the time. Glad to hear you got the chance to check them out in person. I’m also glad to hear that even someone like yourself thinks the jersey’s are expensive. I had a choice between buying tickets, a jersey, or books for class and I only had the money for 2. I ended up having to go with tickets and books. But at least I get to see them live and I’m hoping the books will help get me a job in the sports industry one day soon.

    Comment by Dave -

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