On Wednesday, it was announced by the Pittsburgh Penguins that Evgeni Malkin has elected to have knee surgery to repair the torn ligaments in his right knee. Malkin, who was only just making his return to the ice from a different ailment, suffered the injury when Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers awkwardly fell on his knee during a February 4th game at the Consol Energy Center. Malkin then had to be helped off the ice and headed directly to the locker room, and it was later revealed he had torn both his ACL and MCL.
The Penguins are estimating his recovery time at six months, which effectively rules him out for the season and duration of the playoffs, but expect Malkin to be ready when training camp begins in September.
The decision is hardly a surprise, as the type of injury nearly always requires surgery, and it will bring a premature end to a very disappointing season by #71’s high standards. With just 15 goals and 37 points in 43 games, the 2010-11 season marked the first time in his NHL career that he was producing at less than a point-per-game pace.
Malkin has seen both his games played and points drop since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008-09. After playing all 82 games in two consecutive seasons, he slipped to 67 a season ago and will now finish with 43 this season. Following two straight 100 point seasons, Russian fans are immediately having flashbacks to Pavel Bure, who’s career was hopelessly derailed by knee injuries.
However, From Russia With Glove would like to wish “Geno” a speedy and effective recovery and that we will finally see him at full strength again for the beginning of the new season.
In Pittsburgh however, Malkin will be placed on Long-Term IR, which will free up his roster spot and $8.7m cap hit. Depending on the fate of one Sidney Crosby, Penguins GM Ray Shero now has quite a bit of room to maneuver at the trading deadline later in the month, if he would choose to add another top-six forward. Could we see the great Alexei Kovalev back in Pittsburgh once again?
Could AK-27 be back in black and gold once more?