Sports Magazine

Black n' Gold Blitz : Its Time for "Geno" To Earn His Money

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
I'm going to be honest, I've never been a big Evgeni Malkin fan. The man can play ice doubt, and I realize that he was and is a big reason for the Penguins' success past and future. However, his inability to perform when Sidney Crosby is in the lineup has always bothered me. It almost seems as if he is disgruntled when the Captain in on the ice and that he can't be "the star" that he wants to be. Again, brutal honesty here...I actually thought the Penguins should have traded Malkin instead of extending his contract last season. Before Pens fans across the globe rip my head off for such blasphemy, understand that trading Malkin would have given the Pens an unbelievable future investment in return. No need to even talk about that now, as it isn't going to happen, but what I would like to talk about is the fact that now that Malkin has his new contract...its time for Geno to start earning his "dough".
Malkin has, is, and always will be a very streaky hockey player. He isn't the Sidney Crosby type that will garner around a point or two a game and consistently be on the score sheet. Should he be? Yes, but is he? No. After 12 games this season Malkin has been extremely underwhelming. Geno apologists will point to his lack of wingers. Beau Bennett is injured, James Neal is injured, and even Chuck Kobasew is now injured. Malkin seems to mesh with Jussi Jokinen, but that other side remains a vacant position. Other Geno apologists will say that he is getting his chances, and eventually they will start to come. I see that as something similar to saying "Marc Andre Fleury was close to stopping that puck, but he just missed it. He will start making those saves eventually!" This is a "what have you done for me lately" industry now, and Malkin hasn't been doing much.
Just in 12 games Evgeni Malkin's stat line reads like this: 3 Goals, 7 Assists - 10 points. Plus/Minus = -3. His average time on ice is second amongst forwards, only to Sidney Crosby. Malkin does lead the team in a category...penalty minutes. I know that 10 points is not necessarily bad, but this Russian born superstar was born to put the puck in the net...and it simply isn't happening. 3 goals thus far of a player of his caliber is almost inexcusable. Malkin's 3 goals have him tied for 87th in the NHL in goals scored. His 10 points are tied for 45th in the NHL for points scored. Is that the play of a man who just got a hefty extension to his contract? The simple and straight answer is NO.
Malkin doesn't have to be "the man" all the time, but it would be nice if he was "the man" some of the time. Malkin is a polarizing figure in my opinion, and he looks like he is pressing too much on the ice. Malkin will benefit when Bennett and Neal return from injury, but until then, he needs to duplicate what Sidney Crosby does. Show the ability to score regardless of linemates. Time to earn your keep Geno.

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