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Malkin to wear 'A' in October

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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Evgeni Malkin said today that he will serve as an alternate captain for the Penguins in October.

"First month," Malkin said after practice at Globe Arena. "We'll rotate."

Coach Michel Therrien did not confirm the decision, saying an announcement on his club's alternates would be made "this weekend."

However, Malkin said yesterday he has been informed by coaches he would serve as an alternate.

The Penguins open the regular season with back-to-back games this weekend against the Ottawa Senators.

They are down two alternate captains from last season. Left wing Ryan Malone, an alternate much of the second half last season, departed as a free agent over the summer and defenseman Sergei Gonchar, a permanent alternate the past two seasons, is out until March with a dislocated left shoulder. He is scheduled for surgery Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, whose dressing-room leadership has been unanimously praised by teammates, neither confirmed nor denied that he has also been chosen to serve as an alternate - though, perhaps not on a rotating basis.

Therrien told the Tribune-Review earlier this month he was considering making Malkin an alternate in some capacity.

"We know Malkin's potential," Therrien said Sept. 20. "Not only as a player... but as a leader, too."

As an alternate, one of Malkin's main responsibilities will be to speak with officials on the ice. Only a captain and the alternates are allowed to speak to on-ice officials during games.

Malkin remains uncomfortable speaking English in public, though he has conducted select interviews without an interpreter over the past few weeks.

"It'll be OK," Malkin said of speaking to NHL on-ice officials. "No worries."

Malkin finished second in the NHL with 106 points last season and was runner-up for the league MVP. His strong play in the absence of captain Sidney Crosby - Malkin scored 24 goals and recorded 54 points over the final 36 games, most missed by Crosby - helped deliver the Atlantic Division title.

Crosby has endorsed Malkin as an alternate, saying it would help his continued growth as a team leader.

"He's a guy that we're going to depend on a lot," Crosby said. "If he's the guy that gets a responsibility like that, it's well-deserved.

"He's a guy that we're going to look to each and every night to bring a lot."

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