Evgeni Malkin confirmed Saturday that he has indeed spoken with Penguins management regarding 36-year-old Russian winger Danis Zaripov. Malkin also offered his own endorsement while also explaining that he also doesn’t want to say too much – unless, of course, he’s asked.

Zaripov incurred a two-year doping ban from the Kontinental Hockey League in July but will be permitted to play this upcoming season in the NHL, as the drug he was suspended for – pseudoephedrine – is not on the NHL’s banned list.

“We talked a little bit but not much,” Malkin said when asked whether he’s talked to Penguins management about Zaripov. “It’s not my choice. I know him a lot. I saw him a couple times in summer. It’s a tough situation for him right now.

“If coach talks to me a little more, I would say more. I like [Zaripov] so much. Of course I want to see his face in the locker room. We see what’s going on, but we have time. It’s a hard situation to talk about him.”

Perhaps that was because Malkin doesn’t want to overstep his bounds.

It could also be a language thing. Although Malkin’s English has actually gotten quite good, and he’s grown more comfortable using it, how at ease would you be discussing moves your employer may or may not make in your second language?

Whether the Penguins land Zaripov – who had 15 goals and 22 points in 18 playoff games for Malkin’s hometown Metallurg Magnitogorsk squad in the KHL this past postseason – remains very much in wait-and-see mode.

Zaripov, a veteran of 18 pro seasons in Russia, would very much like to come to Pittsburgh, because of the chance to win a Stanley Cup and play with Malkin, but his camp is also evaluating all options. The Penguins are focused on a third-line center at the moment.