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Crosby deal could impact Malkin

| Friday, June 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin at Consol Energy Center 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby during the morning skate at Madison Square Garden March 15, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
The Penguins' Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby celebrate Evgeni Malkin's second period power play goal against the Devils at the Prudential Center March 17, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

Sidney Crosby's new contract with the Penguins — a 12-year, $104.4 million deal to be signed Sunday — may impact the future of fellow franchise center Evgeni Malkin.

“The thing with Gino, as reigning MVP of the league, it's almost like having two kids you're equally fond of,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said Thursday. “We want to keep Gino happy and keep him a Penguin for a long time.”

Crosby's new deal will kick in for the 2013-14 season, the last season for which Malkin is signed.

A new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its Players Association will be in effect by then. The current CBA prevents a player from signing a new contract before the start of his final year on deal.

Also under the current CBA, set to expire in September, a player can command 20 percent of the NHL salary cap for the year in which his contract is signed. The cap has been designated at $70.2 million for next season, though that figure could change pending the next CBA.

Malkin has not said whether he would again be willing to play for an amount equal to Crosby. In 2008 he signed a five-year contract worth $43.5 million, terms that exactly matched Crosby's deal the year prior.

Malkin could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He, like Crosby, is expected to attend the weekend wedding of Penguins teammate Brooks Orpik in northern California.

Crosby, who did not speak yesterday, has missed 101 games the past two seasons because of concussion symptoms.

Shero would not say whether the team was able to secure insurance for the contract.

“It's something I've never talked about in the past,” Shero said of insurance for a player's contract. “I won't talk about it with this contract, and I won't talk about it moving forward. It's a team issue.”

Shero did not say that Crosby's decision to avoid maxing out had set a standard for future contracts.

The Penguins are about $15 million under the salary cap after trades last week of center Jordan Staal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rrossi@tribweb.com or 412-380-5635.

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