After a couple weeks of being left in the dark about the status of star forward Evgeni Malkin and his minor, forever undisclosed injury, Malkin spoke to the media after practicing with the team on Tuesday.
Malkin said he read the newspaper to find out Neal was traded. Neal texted him throughout the summer. Malkin said he understands. #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 7, 2014
Poor Gene, but hey gotta answer that once now and once when James Neal and the Predators come to town, and then never again.
Malkin not sure if he'll play Thursday in #Penguins opener.— Shelly Anderson (@_ShellyAnderson) October 7, 2014
The Pens play Thursday, Saturday and then not again until next Thursday. It's a very long season, and they have the benefit of a generous opening schedule. No need to push him back into the lineup and risk it.
However, there's also no benefit to declare himself out either. That would just allow for teams to game plan that much more to load up and shutdown Sidney Crosby 's line and probably beat the Penguins. So there shouldn't be problems with keeping it ambiguous right up until game time. Hell, they've come this far with little information and updates, no reason to give more now that the season is ahead.
Malkin says he feels good. Just a little out of shape. If he can't play Thursday, he expects to play Saturday in Toronto.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) October 7, 2014
Along the lines of above- never give anything away. That's cool. But, by all accounts if he's not in game shape for Thursday, how much difference is 48 hours going to make when he could just skip that game too and get an extra week?
Not that the Pens can afford to sit him, but in the interests of truly getting Malkin back to 100% and ready for games it makes sense.
Malkin filled in today for Chris Kunitz, who sat out for some unknown reason. This would seem to indicate that Malkin's the best place holder ever. If in tomorrow or Thursday's skate he's back at center, it would point to more of a chance for a comeback in time for opening night. As of now, it's just a good thing that #71 participated in his first full team practice of the season and is very close to being able to play when the season starts. Good signs, and it's a good thing, because it's almost time to drop the puck.