Pittsburgh Penguins center and NHL regular season top scorer Evgeni Malkin has said he will turn out for Russia at the World Hockey Championships now that the Penguins have been knocked out of the NHL playoffs.
"I’ll meet the national team in Moscow on May 2," Malkin said in comments on the Penguins website.
"Really, I don’t have a choice if we lose here. I want to win the world championships."
On Sunday Pittsburgh crashed out of the first round of the playoffs with a 4-2 series loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In the decisive away game the Penguins were smashed 5-1, with Malkin scoring a consolation goal in the 29th minute, when his team was already losing 3-0.
The world championships will take place from May 4 through 20 in Sweden and Finland, with Malkin seeking his first gold medal for Russia. He was not a member of the gold-winning teams of 2008 and 2009, but won silver in 2010 and bronze in 2005 and 2007.
Drawn against Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark and Italy, Russian national team will play all its group stage matches in Stockholm.
Malkin, 25, joined Pittsburgh in September 2006 and made an immediate impact with a goal in each of his first six games. In 2009 Malkin helped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup.
Four-time All-Star Malkin came back from a 15-goal season plagued by a knee injury in 2010-11, to become NHL top-scorer this season with 50 goals and 59 assists.