The Penguins Will Be Without Star Forward, Evgeni Malkin
The Pittsburgh Penguins received disappointing news when they learned they would be without their superstar forward, Evgeni Malkin, for approximately 6-8 weeks due to an upper body injury. He was injured in a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets when he was hit by Dalton Prout behind the net. The play
itself looked innocent enough but Malkin was in obvious pain after the hit, favoring his left arm/wrist. He did attempt to play one more shift but later left the game and did not return.
To say his presence will be missed would be a huge understatement. When Malkin is healthy, he has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. Malkin is currently the 2nd leading scorer on his team with 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) in 57 games. For the Penguins, the injury couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, with the team battling the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers for the final two wild card sp0ts in the Eastern Conference. Without Malkin in the lineup it will be a challenge and could prove to be a huge blow to their playoff hopes. Even if the Penguins manage to sneak into the playoffs, there is no guarantee Malkin would be able to return for the post season. He is likely to miss the first round of the playoffs and that in itself would be difficult for the team to overcome, especially if they have to play the high-powered Washington Capitals.
How Do They Regroup?
If the Penguins hope to secure a playoff spot they will obviously need Sidney Crosby to carry most of the load. Not one player is going to fill the void left by Malkin’s absence as his 1.3 points per game will be hard to replace.
The team may have to rely on their youth to make up for some of the production. After the injury, the team called up Conor Sheary and Dominik Simon from the AHL. The youngsters made an immediate impact on Sunday in a 5-3 win against the Rangers. Sheary chipped in with two goals and Simon picked up his first career point with an assist on the game-winning goal. Sheary’s performance didn’t go unnoticed and earned high praise from head coach, Mike Sullivan, after the game:
“He works hard, it’s great to see a kid like that get rewarded. His effort is inspiring.”
Malkin has some pretty big skates to fill so the Penguins can’t expect this level of offensive output on a consistent basis. However, it was great to see that the kids were up for the challenge and tried those skates on for size.