Evgeni Malkin has been out with an upper-body injury since the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 30. There were numerous contradictory reports about Malkin’s injury, including a sourced report from Pittsburgh Hockey Now in which we reported Malkin suffered a hand injury.
Malkin clarified the timing of that injury, Friday. It was not sustained in the third period fight with Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, which even some in the Penguins organization believed in the hours and day following the incident.
Without splitting hairs, Malkin explained, “It was not the Stamkos fight. (Dan) Girardi hit me on the second shift and I felt pain right away,” Malkin said.
So, Malkin fought Stamkos with an injured hand. Impressive, gutsy and a little crazy.
“The doctor gave me some pain pills after the first period. It was a little bit of a help to me,” Malkin said. “It’s always tough to play when you can’t feel it. The worst pain was the next morning and the next day.”
“The next day I felt so bad. I knew I had something wrong and went to see the doctor. And it was a little bit of trouble.”
Malkin had two assists in that game and it was immediately seen as a reversal of fortunes for the player who had been struggling. However, Malkin has missed four games and any momentum which was built in the game has dissipated.
“It would have been a step forward, but I didn’t play the next game. I missed four games,” Malkin said. “Now, I don’t know if I am back. I am a little bit nervous right now, again.”
Despite the struggles, Malkin has 55 points (14g, 41a) in 50 games. The Penguins have lost three of the four games (1-2-1) in Malkin’s absence, including a 4-0 shutout against Carolina Tuesday and the 3-2 OT loss to Florida on Thursday.
Malkin was placed on injured reserve, Friday but joined other injured Penguins Justin Schultz and Zach Aston-Reese at practice on Friday and was made available to the media.