Much like what happened with Columbus and James Wisniewski’s injury, a worrisome incident formed a dark cloud over the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater reports that talented but inconsistent Avs forward Matt Duchene appeared to injured his right knee in tonight’s game.
The Avalanche will gauge the severity of Duchene’s injury when he undergoes an MRI on Friday.
Much like Colorado as a whole, Duchene has had an up-and-down season. He’s shown flashes of the brilliance that made him shoot up the 2009 draft charts all the way to third overall (his hat trick and assist against the Dallas Stars was particularly impressive). Unfortunately, his offense has been absent on many other occasions. Duchene has a disappointing 24 points in 39 games, including just a goal and an assist in his last seven contests.
Perhaps a little time off the ice might do Duchene some big-picture good because for all of these concerns, he’s still a promising talent at just 20 years old.
Pens fans can rejoice—Evgeni Malkin is back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. Malkin was a game-time decision for tonight’s game in Long Island; but the allure of a rematch against the blood-rival Islanders proved to be too much to keep Malkin off the ice.
Malkin has been productive in the few games he’s played in the early going this season. The problem is that he’s only played in a few games. Whether he’s having a tough time recovering from last season’s knee surgery or not, the man knows how to fill up the score sheet when he’s on the ice. His timing couldn’t come at a better time since the Pens have hit a lull after a quick start.
The happiest man on the ice should be James Neal. Even without Malkin and Sidney Crosby in the lineup, Neal’s eight goals are already among the league leaders. Just imagine what he’ll be able to do when he has a world-class playmaker putting the puck on a tee for him all game?
Stop us if you’ve heard this before. The Penguins will be without a center for at least a few more games. No, not that world-class center—the other one. Sidney Crosby’s battle to get back in the lineup has stolen all the headlines, but now Evgeni Malkin is scheduled to miss the Penguins next two-game road trip. The advantage to having an embarrassment of riches at center is that the Penguins have a replacement when they lose one of those Hart Trophy winning centers. The bad thing is they don’t have an answer when they lose both of them at the same time. (see: last season).
Here’s the news from Shelly Anderson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“The Penguins have arrived in Winnipeg, but the team reports that center Evgeni Malkin and three other injured players did not make the two-game trip, which includes a game against the Jets on Monday and a game at Minnesota on Tuesday.”
The official word is that Malkin has soreness in the right knee that he had surgery on last season. You’ll remember that was a season-ending surgery that forced the former 2nd overall pick to miss 39 games. This isn’t the kind of news fans wanted while they wait for that other center to get back on the ice.
Even while recovering from last year’s injury, Malkin has still looked good in the few games he’s played in the early season. He’s missed three of the last four games, yet he’s still managed a goal and three assists for the Penguins this season. Not bad for a guy who has only played in three games this season.
The Penguins showed at the end of last season that they are capable of getting by without Malkin and Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Strong defensive play, great goaltending, and spreading out the scoring responsibility helped the Penguins finish with the 4th seed last season. They’re already using the lessons learned from last season to tread water until the superstar duo gets back on the ice.
The next opportunity Malkin will have to return will be at home on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. As widely reported, Crosby was cleared for contact last week and is also battling to get back into the lineup as soon as possible. Either way, the Penguins could use one of those guys sooner rather than later.