Feb 5, 2011, 5:05 PM EDT
When news broke today about Evgeni Malkin being knocked out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL the immediate speculation as far as Penguins fans are concerned is with how long he’ll be out of action for. While Malkin won’t be coming back this season or in the playoffs, the next thought goes to how long it’ll take Malkin to get back on the ice.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears from sources saying that for this type of injury, it usually takes about six months to get back into action putting Malkin on pace to be able to get ready for training camp next year. If you’re thinking that Malkin might be able to to do superhuman things to get back in time for the playoffs, let’s just slow down that talk now.
Sources said those options include consultation with an orthopedic surgeon independent of the club, and that Malkin will not have surgery for at least a week because of knee swelling.
However, with the Stanley Cup Final scheduled to be over by mid-June at the latest, Malkin would need a miraculous recovery of four months to play again this season.
What this means is that the team will take their time waiting for Sidney Crosby to return from his concussion and now Jordan Staal becomes the focus of the team’s offense. Staal started off the year on the injured list with foot and hand ailments but his return at the Winter Classic has now turned into a crucial point for the team’s offense. Without Malkin, Crosby, as well as Mark Letestu for the next 4-6 weeks means the Penguins commitment to hard-nosed hockey will continue.
The pressure is on Staal to produce while GM Ray Shero sorts through what other teams have to offer at the trade deadline. Shero won’t make a panic trade, but the market is open for him to find either a playmaking center or a top-six winger to play on either Crosby or Staal’s line. The next month will be interesting to see how the Penguins handle this adversity and whether or not a roster shuffle is coming.
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