Evgeny Grachev, drafted by the Rangers in the third round last week, made sure everyone knows the player he’s trying to emulate.
Grachev is 18. Malkin is 21, soon to be 22. I can’t think of any 18 year old wanting to be like me when I was 21. Except for the kids who couldn’t get served at the bar. But even then, it was a totally different emulation.
This shows just how far our young stars have come in the past 2 seasons or so. We could easily attribute failure to having a young team, or the fact that our players weren’t battle-tested. Not anymore. What with Sid destroying last year’s NHL awards ceremony and Malkin finishing second in the MVP race this year, its easy for top prospects to admire the kids. Couple that with the recent Finals appearance, and you’ve got heroes who struggle with growing facial hair.
Sure, Grachev and Malkin are countrymen and have similar builds, but I’d attribute Grachev’s respect of Malkin to Geno’s on-ice accomplishments.