Sound familiar? When it comes to criticism for Team Russia, Malkin gets to hide behind Ovechkin


It was another Olympic disappointment for Russia, losing to Finland, 3-1, in the quarterfinals. Was it a shock to see Finland win? Absolutely not. They played better throughout the tournament and were the more complete team. Just like in the NHL during the Stanley Cup playoffs, teams with excellent goaltending that have balance throughout their lineup and are four lines deep, are having the most success in the Olympics. Russia was extremely top heavy and while Pavel Datsyuk played his heart out, most of their stars were duds in the tournament, namely Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Malkin a two-time NHL scoring champion and looked at by many in Pittsburgh as the second best player in the world, was a huge disappointment with no points in his last four games. He never elevated his game when things weren’t going well for him individually and was outplayed by lesser players suchRead More »

Paul Martin and Ryan Suter led Team USA in ice time vs Slovakia; Orpik played just 1:26 in 1st period


SOME NOTES ON PENGUINS & OTHERS FROM THURSDAY’S ACTION United States 7 – Slovakia 1 — Paul Martin and Ryan Suter each led Team USA in ice time with 19:46 TOI. Martin was an even rating in the win and in a blowout like this one, the ice time stats in the first period tell the story where the coaches view particular players right now. Bylsma, as expected, leaned heavily on Martin who had 6:25 of ice time in the first period, second to Suter. Martin, Suter and Kevin Shattenkirk (19:14) all played over 19 minutes. — Brooks Orpik was a +3 but saw the least amount of ice time among all defensemen with 10:51 TOI. Bylsma dressed seven defensemen and Orpik was the only defenseman to play under 13 minutes. What was telling with Orpik is that he only played 1:26 in the first period. The buzz on OrpikRead More »

2014 Olympics: Malkin to play with Ovechkin in the Olympics


Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin are expected to play extensively together on Russia’s top line in the 2014 Olympic Games. In previous international play, Malkin and Ovechkin have mostly played on separate lines. In the 2010 Olympics, Ovechkin played on a line with Pavel Datsyuk for the most part. Malkin today centered Ovechkin and Alexander Semin on Russia’s top line. Talk about the talent on that unit but it’s surely going to be a line that will lack two-way play. Malkin has 5 goals and 7 assists in 10 career Olympic Games. Ovechkin has 7 goals and 2 assists in 12 career Olympic Games. The pressure is huge on Russia and the million dollar question is whether Pavel Datsyuk will be able to give the Russian’s anything, let alone play at all. Datsyuk is dealing with a significant groin injury. If Datsyuk plays at all, it’s expected he will playRead More »

Evgeni Malkin has recorded 3 shots or less in 13 of his last 14 games


Evgeni Malkin (3G-17A-20Pts) has 10 points in his last eight games, all assists. Malkin, though, has now gone 14 games without a goal, the longest stretch of his career and is on pace for 12 goals this season. The eye test doesn’t lie, Malkin is passing up several shooting opportunities especially in the slot and when he’s shooting it’s a bad shot such as a slap shot from 55 ft out on a second period power play that missed wide against the Ducks. Malkin recorded 3 shots on goal vs the Ducks Monday night and Malkin has now recorded 3 shots or less in 13 of his last 14 games. The stats also don’t lie. He needs to get to the high scoring areas.

Bruins neutralized Crosby with Bergeron, opted for Chara – Malkin matchup in Game 1 at even strength


One of the top storylines coming into Game 1 was how the Boston Bruins intended to utilize Zdeno Chara in a matchup role and who he would be paired with. Do they go for the matchup against Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? That was among the burning questions, and, as expected, the Bruins went for the Patrice Bergeron – Sidney Crosby matchup, while going for the Chara – Evgeni Malkin matchup at even strength. The first wrinkle Bruins head coach Claude Julien threw was splitting up his top pairing of Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. With Andrew Ference returning to the lineup, Julien was comfortable enough to pair Johnny Boychuk with Zdeno Chara and go with Ference and Seidenberg in a primary shutdown role against the Crosby line. The Bruins effectively neutralized Crosby who had no points, a minus-2 rating, 4 shots on goal and was 6 of 17 (35%) on faceoffs.Read More »

Off-Day Report: Can Kunitz jumpstart Evgeni Malkin’s game going into the playoffs?


CROSBY SPEAKS Sidney Crosby spoke today nine days after suffering a broken jaw and despite the uncertainty of when he’s going to be able to return to the lineup, let alone start strenuous workouts, Crosby was in good spirits this afternoon. “I feel better than after the first couple days,” said Crosby who spent three days in the hospital. Crosby’s teeth were a mess following the incident and the Penguins captain said today he got “new tops” and lost three or four teeth in his bottom. Crosby has bigger concerns than his teeth. “I’m not too worried about the teeth,” Crosby said. “I’m more worried about making sure I’m healed. Hopefully that’s sooner.” The big thing for Crosby will be putting the weight back on when he can start eating solid foods. Right now he can only eat liquids and said today that it is “impossible to keep weight”. “It’s impossibleRead More »

Post-Morning Skate Buzz: Malkin, Letang ruled out as Penguins look to extend winning streak to 12 games


POST-MORNING SKATE BUZZ The Penguins will look to extend their winning streak to 12 games tonight without Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) once again. Malkin who has been skating with the team and did again this morning, had been targeting a return for this weekend but is still dealing with some pain in his shoulder, the Penguins center said after the morning skate. Malkin was injured against the Maple Leafs on March 9th and will miss his 8th straight game. In a smart move, Malkin contends he won’t return until he is 100% and the pain in his shoulder goes away. Defenseman Kris Letang has also been ruled out of the lineup, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed. Letang who skated very well this morning, will miss his third straight game and appears very close to returning. Letang was injured against Boston last Sunday. With Malkin and Letang still out and Tyler KennedyRead More »

Sunday’s Pens Buzz: Malkin, Martin Updates; Some Takeaway’s from win in MTL; Kunitz perfect winger for Crosby


SUNDAY’S PENS BUZZ MALKIN & MARTIN UPDATE Evgeni Malkin practiced fully today and did take some contact. He said he would like to have a few more practices under his belt before returning to the lineup but didn’t rule himself out for tomorrow night, saying “we’ll see” about playing  vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bylsma said that while Malkin has been cleared for contact, he still needs to pass an impact test. Malkin said the only issues he had following the injury was memory loss and that the injury looked worse than it really was. Meanwhile, Paul Martin skated today going through individual workouts prior to practice but head coach Dan Bylsma has ruled Martin out for tomorrow night’s game. Expect the same six defensemen to dress tomorrow night. Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal. SOME TAKEAWAY’S FROM LAST NIGHT’S WILD 7-6 WIN *Of all the negatives defensively lastRead More »

Evgeni Malkin diagnosed with a concussion but “feeling pretty good” per Bylsma


Center Evgeni Malkin has been officially diagnosed with a concussion and won’t join the Penguins on their upcoming road trip, head coach Dan Bylsma said following the Penguins 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bylsma said Malkin suffered initial memory loss but has not suffered “any other symptoms.” The good news is, according to Bylsma, is that Malkin is doing better since the injury on Friday. “He’s feeling pretty good right now,” Bylsma said, indicating that Malkin’s memory loss is coming back. “As we go forward in the next few days standard protocol will be followed, “Bylsma said.