The Pittsburgh Penguins have fallen short again in the playoffs, but this time there’s no question that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did everything he could to keep them in this series. As people look for other causes for the team’s shortcomings their glut of injured defensemen certainly come to mind, but there is another factor that people are likely going to talk about a lot over the coming days: The fact that superstar Evgeni Malkin had no points in the series.
To be fair to Malkin, he might have been playing injured. He did miss some games towards the end of the regular season and it’s hard for us to know if he was anywhere close to 100% by the time the playoffs started. He certainly wasn’t shying away from the blame though after the New York Rangers eliminated Pittsburgh tonight.
“I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates,” Malkin said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi. “I know I’m a leader on this team. Not so good game. I don’t know.”
As for the concerns about his health, Malkin downplayed them. He admitted to having “a couple of small injuries,” but he said he wasn’t dealing with anything major. He also stated that if he’s on the ice, that means he’s healthy. We have all witnessed a lot of cases of players stepping on to the ice without being healthy though.
All the same, Malkin’s future is fuzzy. He’s certainly still a dangerous player, but the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner has been battered by injuries in recent years. He’ll be 29 years old in July and still has seven more seasons at a cap hit of $9.5 million.