Pittsburgh Penguins: Anyone Missing Evgeni Malkin, a Pens Star Not Named Sidney?

J FCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 28:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers in the first period at Mellon Arena on November 28, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Evgeni Malkin could be one of the best skaters in the world, but since he joined the NHL and arrived in Pittsburgh, he's always been second-best to another superstar name, Sidney Crosby.

While both players have been out for what seems like a century, Malkin was the most recent to be forced off the ice because of injury, yet he hasn't received as much attention in his absence.

Obviously, Crosby is the face of the franchise and may still return this season, but fans shouldn't forget about the other head of the two-headed monster.

Malkin's season ended when Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres delivered him a hit that tore both his ACL and MCL. His knee surgery was successful, but he'll need six months to fully recover.

He should be ready for next season's training camp, but it's certainly sad he wasn't able to participate with the Penguins very long this season.

It was his fifth year in Pittsburgh, but fortunately, the Russian is only 24 years old and is signed through the 2013-2014 season.

Malkin wasted no time in proving his greatness when he entered the league. In 2007, he won the NHL's Rookie of the Year award and the Calder Memorial Trophy, and in two years he was the league's leading scorer, winning the 2008-2009 Art Ross trophy.

But perhaps his greatest achievement was leading the Penguins through the 2009 playoffs and becoming the first Russian to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is essentially the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP.

The fact that the Penguins are surviving without their two heads proves that the body of depth the team has is stupendous. It's easy to forget about the adversity the Pens have faced after the way they've continued to play well without their stars.

Maybe the team isn't missing Evgeni Malkin so much right now, but they certainly will wish they had his skill come playoff time.

So, Pittsburgh fans, just remember that Geno will be creating excitement on the ice once again next season.