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Malkin’s Time To Lead The Penguins

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Even if Crosby comes back this season, danger lurks. He would rejoin a league that still has such a thing as a “legal head shot,” to quote NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — and there is no predicting how Crosby’s brain will react to the next big hit, no matter what the medical experts say.

The cruel nature of his injury makes Crosby day-to-day for good.

The false hope of Crosby’s return permeated the Penguins’ dressing room during last year’s playoffs and made for a daily distraction until he shut it down for good. That can’t happen again. This team starts training camp in 10 days and opens the regular season Oct. 6 at Vancouver. Bylsma and his staff should be strategizing short- and long-term without penciling Crosby’s name onto the depth chart.

This is Evgeni Malkin’s team for now — and despite injuries and bouts of inconsistency, Malkin has shown he can carry the club. When he’s right, he is a top-five player in the world. A two-time 100-point scorer. He should run the power play from the right half-boards, as he did so expertly during Crosby’s prolonged absence in 2007-08.

The Penguins’ defense and goaltending is second to none. They lack firepower up front, but if Malkin returns to form, they would be a viable Stanley Cup contender without Crosby.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin


Nathan's avatar

The Penguins’ defense and goaltending is second to none.


Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/08/11 at 11:01 AM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

I thought Starky was going to go into how Geno can and needs to lead the Pens while Sid’s out of the line-up, not another opinion on what Sid should do. Sheeesh.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 09/08/11 at 11:02 AM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/08/11 at 10:01 AM ET

Maybe he was stretching a bit, not that far off.  Per NHL.com

GA per game 2.39 - 7th in NHL
PK - 86.1 1st in NHL
Shots Against per game - 28.7 5th in NHL
Wins after scoring 1st - 7.56 5th in NHL

I tend to think he was referring more to the East for which the argument could be made the Pens have the top blueline.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 09/08/11 at 11:24 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

I knew Starkey would go into Sid he was at the PC yesterday

Posted by Evilpens on 09/08/11 at 12:03 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

For the umpteenth time, Malkin reminds me of Fedorov-

He has the talent, but sometimes lacks the will and work ethic to use it.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 09/08/11 at 12:53 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Pens have a really really really good blueline, but isn’t MAF still way too inconsistent—despite the Cup—to be considered one of the best goalies in the game? You can’t put him top five and consider yourself honest…

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/08/11 at 02:17 PM ET


Malkin and federov aren’t good comparables. Malkin doesn’t lack effort or will on the ice, like, ever. He’s perfectly happy to skate through a wall, if needed.

Malkin’s problem is more that he’s supremely talented but often stupid. Why Malkin isn’t hustling is a question that doesn’t come up. Why Malkin is over there doing that comes up a lot. But no, he doesn’t float or take nights off like a Federov or a Kovalev. It actually reminds me more of Modano from his prime, where I’d be wondering why he took the puck, circled the entire offensive zone himself twice in a row and then went to the bench for a linechange.

The Penguins’ defense and goaltending is second to none.


Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/08/11 at 10:01 AM ET

Before the month of February, which had the Penguins without 4 of the top 5 centers in the organization, its best defensive wing and two of the top 4 D, Pittsburgh was tied with Boston for 1st in the league in goals against. They still finished 7th, and 1st in PK.

If he said MAF was the best goalie, you’d have a point, but, best team defense + goalie is a supportable claim, though not inarguable.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/08/11 at 02:21 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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