Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (left) and defenceman Sergei Gonchar, now with the Senators, are best of buds. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)
OTTAWA - They make their NHL homes 882 km from each other and their birth certificates have 12 years between them, but nothing can separate the bond Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin have formed.
After accepting the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP last spring in Las Vegas, the 26-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins superstar dedicated the award to the Senators' veteran defenceman in his acceptance speech.
"He took care of me," Malkin said last June. "He's a great guy and an unbelievable player. He's my best friend here."