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‘Not Easy to Play Simple,’ Will Malkin Change to Fit New Penguins?



Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 14: Pittsburgh Penguins Center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates with the puck on the power play with Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres on November 14, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Penguins defeated the Sabres 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

Evgeni Malkin is one of the most gifted and talented players of his generation. He has volumes of highlight-reel goals and sleight of hand stickhandling which left opponents behind. Unfortunately, Malkin’s ability to make the impossible possible can also lead to turnovers and more mistakes. Last season, he and the Pittsburgh Penguins were frustrated with those turnovers and Malkin’s sometimes overly complex game.

Last season, he had 84 turnovers.

So, the Penguins had a heart-to-heart with Malkin over the summer. Staring into the future without Malkin, the team, Malkin and even Penguins captain Sidney Crosby decided they were better together than apart.

The offseason changes remade the Penguins and planted seeds of growth towards a different team, built around the Penguins three remaining pillars including Crosby, defenseman Kris Letang, and Malkin.

The rash of early-season injuries forced the Penguins to forge a new identity much sooner than anyone expected. Head coach Mike Sullivan explained the Penguins growing identity, “When you win a game and it’s a good team win and a group effort, it provides a lot of evidence that if we play the game a certain way we can win on any given night.”

And so PHN asked Malkin if he will simplify his game. The answer wasn’t what I expected but that’s Malkin–he doesn’t read from the script of cliches.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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