Evgeni Malkin Starting to Play Up to His Capability

Mad ChadAnalyst IDecember 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 20:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is named first star of the game after scoring five points on two goals and three assists against the Phoenix Coyotes on December 20, 2010 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh defeated Phoenix 6-1.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Last month, I wrote that the Pittsburgh Penguins needed more production from Evgeni Malkin.

In the first 25 games of his 2010-2011 campaign had just eight goals and 22 points, which wasn't even good enough to be in the Top 25 in the league. 

I was frustrated with Malkin's inconsistency and I knew that he was—and is—capable of much more.

Talent-wise, there's not many more physically gifted players in the NHL. Malkin is a former Art Ross—regular season leading scorer—and Conn Smythe winner—playoffs MVP.

He has already proven that he can be an "elite" player in this league.

He's also paid like a top player as he along with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are all tied as the second highest players in the league behind Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils.

Malkin had back to back seasons with over 100 points in his career, but last year had a very disappointing 77 points and was a -6 for the season.

Through those first 25 games he was on pace for just 72 points this year. 

That wasn't going to cut it.

Malkin was on his way to being labeled "overrated" or at least as an underachiever.

I didn't want to see that happen to him.

It makes me mad when I see Sidney Crosby work his butt off to become the greatest player in the world and I never hear about Malkin doing the same thing. A lot of people suggest that Malkin is actually the more talented player between he and Crosby. 

When I wrote about Malkin needing to play better most Pens' fans came and defended him saying that he wasn't getting any help on the ice and that he was just in a slump—some even suggested that he was playing injured.

Well the later might have actually been true. Malkin sat out four games with a "knee injury" before returning to the lineup last Tuesday against the Flyers.

In his return he scored both of the Penguins goals. The Pens lost a tough game but it was good to see Malkin put two pucks in the net.

Malkin scored another goal in a loss to the New York Rangers the next night.

Then came the game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night. Malkin scored two goals, had three assists, and five points on the night.

He was dominant.

The fans were chanting "Geno,Geno,Geno!" and it was great to see. It also shows what he is capable of.

If he can bring that kind of a performance on a more consistent basis like Crosby does, the Pens will be the best team in the NHL. I hope that what we're seeing from "Geno" recently is a sign of things to come.

I hope from here on out he continues to play up to his capability.


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