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Penguins' Malkin hosts Lokomotiv benefit

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Monday, Nov. 14, 2011
 

A fix may have been in Sunday night at Evgeni Malkin's flight team Lokomotiv benefit at Bossa Nova.

A framed Los Angeles Lakers jersey autographed by Kobe Bryant was one of more than 30 items up for bid, and Malkin eyed it as though it was an open top right corner of a goal cage.

"I (am buying) Kobe's jersey," Malkin said early during a four-hour event that was attended by about a dozen of his Penguins teammates. "He's my favorite basketball player."

Malkin, dressed casually in a dark slacks, a dress shirt and a gray cardigan sweater, appeared at ease while greeting guests, posing for pictures and carrying on conversations at the charity he helped organize with help from "some Russian people in Pittsburgh."

Sponsored by 25 regional business, including Bossa Nova owners Robin and Ann Fernandez, proceeds went to the Big Dream's Children Foundation ( www.bigdreams.scf ) that benefits children in need across the country. This benefit focused specifically on the children of the families that lost loved ones in the Sept. 7 private jet crash that killed 43 members of the Kontinental Hockey League's Lokomotiv squad.

There were only two survivors.

Malkin reiterated Sunday night that he knew "many guys" on the plane that crashed on takeoff from Tunoshna, Russia.

"I can't explain how I felt after," he said. "I feel a little better now, but I wanted to raise the money for the families.

"It's very important for me to help."

Tickets for Malkin's event cost either $125 or $300 apiece. Non-hockey items up for bid included a fur stole, paintings, a designer handbag and a Mercedes.

Malkin, a native of Magnitogorsk, Russia, is one of many Russian-born players to hold benefits for families of the victims since the crash. Included in that group is former Penguins teammate Sergei Gonchar and Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, each of whom donated autographed jerseys and sticks to Malkin's event.

Donations in the form of autographed jerseys and sticks also were made by Malkin's Penguins teammates. Team captain Sidney Crosby also assisted in a big way by calling fellow NHL players to help with the gathering of items for the silent auction.

"We are one big hockey family," Malkin said. "This was a tragedy in my country, and I feel fortunate that my teammates supported me."

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