(Courtesy of SI.com)
On Friday night, Pittsburgh star and reigning league MVP Evgeni Malkin took a check from Florida’s Erik Gudbranson forcing him to fly hard into the boards before slamming his head violently. The 26-year old stayed down and play (seen below) was halted immediately. Despite being able to skate off the ice under his own power, Malkin left the game and it was revealed the following day he was suffering from short-term memory loss.
Reports now say he is indeed suffering from concussion symptoms and will miss the Pens next three games on the road after missing yesterday’s 5-3 win over Tampa. Malkin’s teammate, and other Hart Trophy winner, Sidney Crosby battled post-concussion syndrome forcing him to miss 100 games over the course of two seasons leaving Penguins fans holding their collective breath after Friday’s injury to their beloved Geno.
Concussions are one of the trickiest injuries to deal with because you can either jump right back into action a few days later or suffer the fate similar to that of Chris Pronger. Luckily (albeit bad luck) the Penguins have been through this before and should know how to handle the concussion properly. Malkin has already been placed on the retroactive IR.
Naturally they will look to the likes of Crosby and James Neal to carry the offensive load in Malkin’s absence who in 18 games has 4 goals and 17 assists.
Malkin stepped up when Crosby was injured so now is the time for the captain to repay him as he’s forced to sit out. Hopefully his injury will be less severe and we will see him before the season ends. If last year was any indication, the man was born to come back strong after being on the shelf. Let’s hope that will be the case once more.
Their upcoming road-trip includes visits to Florida, Carolina, and Montreal before returning home to face Tampa once again. Eventually the loss of such a star player will catch up to the Pens but it’s how they’ll carry on without him that will define their character in this shortened season. With the division rival Devils slumping of late the Pens can use this time to build on the gap that separates the two teams as the halfway mark of the season quickly approaches.