Here are part 1 and part 2.
Maria: Zhenya, the words through hardships to the stars describe pretty well the way you left Russia for the NHL. The hardships were as bad as those suffered by Mogilny who opened the road to the NHL for all the other Soviet hockey players.
Zhenya: You returned to this question again.
Katerina: Unexpected turn, huh?
Zhenya: I don’t want to think about it now. It was hard for me, for my parents… I don’t know if it was disreputable or the right choice. I did what I did and now I’m sitting here with you in this studio and probably everything’s okay with us.
Maria: You made the right choice.
Zhenya: Please show your support if I made the right choice.
Katerina: We definitely think you made the right choice.
Maria: Our clapping is the loudest.
Zhenya: You support me the most, right?
Zhenya’s mother Natalya Malkina on the screen: All year long they said they’d let Zhenya go, he was counting on it. And then suddenly they decided he had to play here for another year. It was Zhenya’s dream to go to the NHL.
Zhenya’s father Vladimir Malkin on the screen: The team’s management knew that he wanted to go, they talked about it and agreed on it. But then they took it back at the last minute and… He wasn’t prepared for it at all.
Natalya: He didn’t want to stay. When Velichkin and Kupriyanov came to our house, they tried to persuade us until it was 2 in the morning. They went on and on and we didn’t have the strength to fight any more. So Zhenya signed the contract. When they left, Zhenya sent a text to Kupriyanov which said, “You killed my dream.” He cried all night long. And then he somehow decided it was time to do something.
Vladimir: He kept it away from us, didn’t tell us anything. We didn’t know anything.
Natalya: I cried, but… All’s well that ends well.
Katerina: We need a round of applause, we didn’t expect such a reaction.
Katerina: Zhenya, it’s over, dreams have to come true. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Maria: Zhenya, I don’t understand why you had such a strong reaction to these interviews. You were visibly hurt by them. But you went to the NHL to fulfill your childhood dream. How can you be, I don’t know, embarrassed by it? You made the right choice.
Zhenya: My father’s words… He said there were good opinions about me and also bad ones. Sometimes it’s hard to take when our, I don’t know, our acquaintances who say behind my back that I’m a traitor and that I abandoned my country. It was hard to take. And now all these words and memories really affected me, so I became emotional.
Katerina: But that’s exactly how you can tell if someone is a real friend. Your job makes you a celebrity. If your acquaintances or friends start talking shit about you behind your back, than it’s their problem.
Zhenya: I wasn’t talking about my friends, I still have a good relationship with them and we continue being friends. I was talking about acquaintances who talked behind my back, but never went directly to me or said anything to my face. I don’t know whether or not they were scared. But there were opinions like that and I’m just an emotional person who is deeply affected by every bit of criticism against me.
Maria: But that’s exactly how people fulfill their dreams, through pain and grievances.
Zhenya: You are right, that’s how people do it. We won the Stanley Cup three years later and that’s the most important thing. I maybe made my parents happy and made myself happy in some ways, so my dream came true and I think I made the right choice. We have a good team and that’s the important thing. We are a tight knit team and Mario Lemieux is great. He is always there to help, in the locker room or elsewhere. I am very happy to play for this team.
Maria: Is Mario Lemieux your idol?
Zhenya: I think I’m not the only one who thinks of him as his idol.
Maria: What happened when you met him for the first time? Did you ask him to sign something for you? Were you star-struck?
Zhenya: To tell you the truth, my jaw dropped. (Applause.) But in a good way! I wasn’t star-struck, I was kinda used to the idea of meeting him. When I arrived there, he invited me to his house for dinner and I was surprised to see how huge he was. He’s taller than me. I wasn’t expecting that, I thought he would be a lot smaller, so when I saw him… He gave me a couple of his jackets until I could get my own because I didn’t have any and according to the rules I was supposed to wear suits when I arrived to games. So when I put one of his jackets on, it was really loose on me.
Voiceover: Mario Lemieux’s height is 1.94 cm, Evgeni Malkin’s height is 1.92 cm. Mario Lemieux’s weight is 107 kg, Evgeni Malkin’s wait is 87 kg.
Katerina: Everyone says what a nice person you are, that you aren’t self-important. (Zhenya smiles.) How do you manage to be like that? You are the star of the NHL, in the US tons of people run after your car to get an autograph. How did you stay like that? We can see how nice you are. Your tears are evidence of that.
Zhenya: When did I cry? (Laughs.) Well, you’ve seen my parents, so I probably followed in their footsteps. They are really nice and kind people. They raised me right. It all depends on the parents and the upbringing, that’s the most important thing. So it’s all thanks to them.
Maria: Metallurg Magnetogorst forced you to sign the contract. I don’t understand who forced you to do it. How was it even possible?
Zhenya: It’s hard to say whether they forced me. But there was constant pressure, costant communication. I also went to talk to Victor Philippovich Rashnikov who is the president of the team. It was hard to talk to these kinds of people who are magnates, millionaires, billionaires, club presidents. It was hard to work up the courage to say no to them. But at that moment I did have the courage to say no. After then the pressure got worse. Of course there weren’t any threats or fake schemes, they just put a lot of pressure, especially on my parents, but also on me. There were meetings every day, they came to my house and I went to talk to the management as well. It was probably a bit wrong of them to arrange meetings constantly. It was difficult.
Maria: Is it true that the team were withholding your passport?
Zhenya: Well, it’s probably wrong to say they were withholding it, it was just in their hands.
Katerina: They just wouldn’t give it back?
Zhenya: I didn’t ask for it. I understood that they wouldn’t give it back. It was already planned that I would go to Finland for a championship, so they were already applying for my visa. So I didn’t even try to get it back.
Katerina: So you went to Finland, spent a couple of days in a safe house and from there your agent flew you over to the US, right?
Zhenya: Yeah, it sounds like a plot of a movie.
Katerina: Yes, like a thriller.
Maria: It would make a great movie.
Zhenya: I went to Finland, where I met with my agent J.P. Berry. We went from the airport to the hotel. I just gave him my passport and then he applied for American visa for me. It took 3-4 days to handle all the paperwork and then I went to the US.