The Dallas Stars undertook an aggressive approach to reshaping their team this summer by adding players like Tyler Seguin, Sergei Gonchar and Shawn Horcoff. On Monday night, that statement was amplified when the translated version of a Russian language interview with Evgeni Malkin's father surfaced tying Dallas as a suitor for the superstar's services this past summer.
Only problem is Malkin has never been an unrestricted free agent. If his father is accurate in stating that the Stars tabled a more lucrative offer than the $76 million he ultimately received from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 13, then manager Jim Nill and the Stars organization were in violation of the NHL's anti-tampering legislation.
On Tuesday afternoon, Nill released a statement regarding the matter. To no surprise, he denied the accuracy of the claim, via Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:
"We have seen the reports that have surfaced out of Russia claiming that we have tampered and they are completely untrue. The Dallas Stars organization respects and adheres to all rules and regulations set forth by the National Hockey League and any report that claims otherwise is false."
Malkin's agent, J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, did not comment on the validity of a Stars offer but did release a statement regarding his client's desire to play in Pittsburgh. The translated interview also contained a passage discussing Malkin's potential interest in playing for the Montreal Canadiens or New York Rangers.
To no surprise, Barry denied such an interest and expressed how smoothly negotiations went with Pittsburgh, via Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
"The negotiations with Pittsburgh went very smoothly," Barry said. "Ray Shero, David Morehouse, Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux showed a willingness throughout to find a fair structure for both sides. Evgeni was very pleased that this negotiation was concluded amicably as his wishes were always to remain in Pittsburgh."
Rossi also writes that the NHL will not be pursuing tampering charges against the Stars.
If the league isn't going to investigate the matter further, then the story is essentially dead. Considering the source of the information came from a player's father through a written foreign language report (plausible deniability), the potential for more information leaking is slim-to-none.