Will Evgeni Malkin Shine in the Playoffs Once Again? @MadChad412 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Will Evgeni Malkin Shine in the Playoffs Once Again? @MadChad412

Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Evgeni Malkin has a resume that isn't imitated by many of his peers. Malkin is a former league MVP, rookie of the year, has won two scoring titles, been a Stanley Cup champion, and was named Conn Smythe winner for MVP of the playoffs. Malkin is only 26 years-old. Last year Malkin was the scoring champ and the league MVP. But will he return to greatness in these playoffs or will his play be more similar to the last two postseasons that he's appeared in?

 Malkin is a superstar so and his resume gives reason for everyone to have huge expectations for him. When he is underachieving compared to his earlier success it is usually starts a huge fight between "Malkin fan-boys" and haters. I am neither of those. I really like Malkin, I think he's an amazing player and he is extremely funny off the ice, despite the whole language barrier thing.

When Malkin isn't producing like we're accustomed to everyone ends up overanalyzing his play. I do however, think that Malkin allows his emotions dictate his play too often, sometimes looking uninterested or even distracted. But I'm not Sigmund Freud nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn last night. 

I do know that Malkin having 33 points in 31 games during the regular season isn't exactly great for his lofty standards. A shoulder injury caused him to miss 17 games in the regular season. The rest of the game The other main excuse was the "other" winger or lack there of for he and James Neal. Most of the games Malkin played in he was pedestrian, barely made any big plays, lazy defense, turnovers, and was awful on face-offs. Perhaps people wouldn't be so hard on if he didn't make $8.7 million a year.

 Don't get the wrong idea, this isn't a bash-Malkin article, I have more good things to say about Geno than not. Malkin is a superstar and with Sidney Crosby once again and still sidelined with an injury (broken jaw) I think Malkin can and will go into superstar mode to help carry this Pens team to the promise land. Hell he can do that even when Crosby comes back. Just like he did in the spring of 2009. That's what this team is built around, the "two-headed monster". 

The last two postseasons that Malkin has played in (2009-2010, 2011-2012) were once again not up to his standards. Malkin was often shutdown by rookie center Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers, and he was a (-1) in last year's first round series loss. Malkin missed the postseason the year before that after suffering a nasty knee surgery. In the 2009-2010 postseason Malkin failed to produce a point-per-game in the playoffs for just the second time in his career.

Compare that to the 2008-2009 postseason when Malkin was the MVP. Malkin had 36 points in just 24 playoff games. He and Crosby were unstoppable but Malkin shined like a crazy diamond. Some of the plays he made were all-time great, scoring clutch goals, he truly was the best player in the world. That was four years ago though, and this is a what have you done for me lately society. 

 Malkin needs to step up just like everyone else now, because it's the cup. There is no lack of good wingers for him to play with, whether it's James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Jarome Iginla, or even rookie Beau Bennett. If Malkin is hurting that's still not an excuse, everyone is playing hurt, because it's the cup.

Malkin is already off to a good start, earning two points in last night's 5-0 win over the New York Islanders. Malkin looked good throughout the night, setting guys up and skating with speed and skill. He was all over the ice, hitting, shooting the puck, putting on a show. He looked like the Geno from old, the Geno that we've all grown to love. If Malkin plays like the superstar is he is, the Pens will tough to beat, especially when Crosby comes back. 

Malkin's contract is up after next season, and like most people I want the Pens to re-sign him. However, if the Pens don't win a cup by then maybe they'll try to move on from the two superstar system. Most likely they won't and I don't think it will get to that point. I think Malkin is set up to have a Cinderella type finish to his career in Pittsburgh. I think it will go how we all wanted Jaromir Jargr's career to go. 

Malkin is too good to let go anyways, especially since he's in the prime of his career. The Pens are stacked and have arguably the two best forwards in the league in their primes at the same time. As long as they have Crosby and Malkin they will be favorites to win the cup and that's just how it is. And as long as Malkin is playing he will have those lofty expectations to perform and produce like a superstar, fair or not.

Here's an extra incentive for Malkin, if he would lead the Pens to a Stanley Cup this year and win the Conn Smythe, he would just be the sixth player in NHL history to win the award more than once. The other five guys; Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Bernie Parent. 

Malkin is a superstar, and now is the time for him and to shine once again. Cup or die.

I'm score


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