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Russian club close to filing lawsuit against Penguins

"We haven't filed it yet but it's imminent," lawyer Alexander Berkovich, who represents Metallurg, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "But it's coming very soon."

Malkin was slated to make his NHL debut with the Penguins on Wednesday night after recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in pre-season.

The lawsuit from Magnitogorsk has long been expected by the NHL after Malkin's controversial departure from Russia this summer. The NHL remains confident Malkin will be able to stay with the Penguins.

Earlier this week Berkovich also filed a lawsuit on behalf of Russian club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The lawsuit claimed that Andrei Taratukhin of the Calgary Flames and Alexei Mikhnov of the Edmonton Oilers are under contract with Yaroslavl for the 2006-07 season and should not be allowed to play for any other club in the world. It asked the federal court for a temporary injunction barring the two players from skating for the two NHL teams.

Much the same argument will be contained in the Malkin lawsuit.

"Yes, that's correct, the lawsuit will be based on the same principles," said Berkovich.

Malkin left Russia in August after signing a one-year deal with Magnitogorsk, a contract he says he signed under duress.

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