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A motivated Evgeni Malkin is a scary, MVP-threat Evgeni Malkin

Oct 2, 2011, 3:13 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

What we’ve seen out of Evgeni Malkin the past two seasons has been, well, underwhelming. The past two seasons, with some help from an ailing knee, he’s scored 114 points in 110 games. Three seasons ago, Malkin put up 113 alone in the 2008-2009 Stanley Cup-winning season.

We know Malkin is a dominating force on the ice but the nagging knee stuff made us forget just how good he is capable of being. Thanks to Rob Rossi of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review we find out that the monstrous play we’ve seen out of Malkin in the preseason is very likely going to continue on into the regular season thanks to Malkin finding his motivation to win the Stanley Cup again.

He senses that Penguins teammate and fans are calling for this, his sixth season, to be a ″comeback year.″

This is no comeback, though.

″I hope people understand this is (a) new me,″ Malkin said. ″I’ve changed my workouts because maybe I was lazy before. Maybe I just played hockey, and that (was) good enough, but (there) is more for me to do.

″My motivation now is very good.″

While the Penguins aren’t sure when Sidney Crosby is going to rejoin the team on the ice, a rejuvenated Malkin could make his absence a moot point for the time being. When Malkin is healthy he’s a dynamic scorer with top five talent. Remember, when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 it was Malkin, not Crosby or Marc-Andre Fleury, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. While opponents loaded up against Crosby to stop him, Malkin took advantage of secondary defenders being unable to keep up with him.

If Malkin can do the kind of work he’s done in the preseason against opponents that have made the cut and stuck in the NHL, expect to see him make a run to the top of everyone’s list as a Hart Trophy candidate.

  1. stakex - Oct 2, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    When I think of Malikn, Alex Kovelev comes to mine. Tons of talent, half the motivation… and we always heard the “I’ll be motivated” statements from Kovelev before the season started. Lets wait until the season actually starts before we see which Malkin shows up. I personally doubt his ability to stay both healthy and motivated for the entire season.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 2, 2011 at 9:31 PM

      Haha Malkin isn’t on Kovy’s level. Kovelev seemed like he didn’t care. Period. Malkin works hard. Well harder than most people think. And yes, I am a Flyers fan so you know I’m not giving homer opinion ha. I do agree with you, though, that he may not be able to consistently maintain a MVP-level. I know he did it once but he wasn’t coming off an injury. We shall see..

      • stakex - Oct 3, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        Your view of Kovelev though is just from the last few years, on which I will agree with you. Earlier in his career however, he was a far more motivated player when he was with the Rangers and the Penguins (the first times).

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        I beg to differ. His game is based on offensive output. He was solid throughout his career but never great. Only had 2 years that he complied 80+ points (Pens, 94 pts, ’00-’01 and Habs, 84 pts., ’07-’08). His first stint with the NYR (played 6 full season then go traded to PIT in his 7th) the most points he had in one season was 58. Now if you say that he was more motivated then that just proves my point. Kovy is one of the most talented players to lace ’em up. But he didn’t have the appropriate work ethic to compliment his ability.

  2. johninpa - Oct 2, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Maybe Malkin understands that not knowing when or if Crosby is returning, it is his team to lead. This may motivate him, and we may see the true player he is capable of being.

  3. canucks18 - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Malkin is a guy that I agree has “top 5 stuff”and I think he knows how good he is and his pride as a man will be what keeps him motivated to be on the same level as the hall of fame level

  4. gerryf19 - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    Can he win a freakin face-off every once in a while?

    • jpelle82 - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      would be nice, they need to move him to wing

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