Somewhere high above us, the hockey gods have been angry for much of the season.
First, they chose Steven Stamkos to be the league’s next golden child, joining the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. When his scoring faded even slightly, they orchestrated Crosby’s injury, thinking those fine, resilient people of Pittsburgh would finally be broken.
They weren’t, and the Penguins kept winning. They’ve won five straight games, and eight out of their last 10. With their little eyes turning blood red, and Mike Milbury whispering sweet nothings into their ear, the almighty gods were not pleased. Crosby has missed 12 games with his concussion, and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh’s other superstar, also missed the last five games with a knee injury and sinus infection. Yet even the most diabolical scheme couldn’t slow the Penguins.
Now the evil plot is complete, and Malkin has likely played his last shift of the season.
Malkin–who has 15 goals and 37 points in 43 games–tore his ACL and MCL last night during a collision with hulking Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers, and will likely miss the rest of the season according to multiple media outlets.
Head coach Dan Bylsma spoke to the media Saturday morning, saying an MRI revealed the injury and that recovery options are now being discussed with team doctors.
“Surgery is a possibility,” he said. “I’m not sure if there is a rehab possibility.”
Crosby has started light workouts, but there still isn’t any timetable for his return. He’s been out for a month, and Crosby’s magical run during his 25-game point streak is quickly fading into the rear-view mirror as the dominant storyline of his season.
The Penguins are still in a dog fight with the Flyers atop the Atlantic division and trail Philadelphia by just one point, and are fourth in the Eastern Conference. But now they’ll forge ahead with 25 percent of their offence this season watching from afar.
UPDATE: Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has confirmed the inevitable. Malkin will indeed miss the rest of the season, and will need at least six months to recover. Rossi also writes that Malkin will not going under the knife for at least another week to allow time for swelling in the knee to go down.