While the initial prognosis was that Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin would need six months to recover from surgery on a torn ACL and MCL, Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the Russian forward is ahead of schedule. Chesnokov points to a Russian report straight from Malkin’s father that the Penguins center began on-ice workouts in mid-May and was already undergoing rehab in Pittsburgh in that month.
Even after struggling in the last season and a half, there’s no doubt that the Penguins are a more explosive offensive team with Malkin in the lineup. He already has two 100+ point seasons to his credit – including 113 in 2008-09 to earn the Art Ross Trophy – but the team hopes that the 25-year-old scorer’s best days aren’t behind him.
Getting Malkin back would be a big boost for the Penguins, especially with Sidney Crosby’s status seemingly improving but undoubtedly uncertain. Chesnokov points to somewhat controversial comments made by Mario Tremblay, who claims that Crosby suffered two concussions in his junior hockey days, indicating that the all-world forward might have suffered four (rather than two) concussions in a short period of time.
Who knows how valid Tremblay’s claims might be, but they underscore how careful the Penguins must be with Crosby’s rehab process. One must hope that the team watches over Malkin’s situation with caution as well. It’s great that he is showing the spirit to fight back from always-worrisome knee problems, but there’s also the worry that he might push too hard to come back too soon and might aggravate the injury again.
Both of the Penguins’ short and long-term futures are still in doubt, which must be a disturbing circumstance about two years after they raised the 2009 Stanley Cup. We’ll keep you updated about each players’ statuses as training camp and the beginning of the 2011-12 season approaches.