February 05, 2011
On the eve of their Super Bowl Sunday matchup against the Washington Capitals, Coach Dan Bylsma confirmed fears after fans saw Evgeni Malkin(notes) crash awkwardly into the boards on a Tyler Myers(notes) hit last night: Torn ACL, torn MCL and "surgery is a possibility" and "I'm not sure if there are rehab possibilities" as Malkin will seek a second opinion this week.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review put the typical recovery time for this injury at six months.
Sources said [Malkin's] options include consultation with an orthopedic surgeon independent of the club, and that Malkin will not have surgery for at least a week because of knee swelling.
However, with the Stanley Cup Final scheduled to be over by mid-June at the latest, Malkin would need a miraculous recovery of four months to play again this season.
And that's assuming a long playoff run for the Penguins without Malkin in the lineup. As Bylsma said today:
"You're talking about Evgeni Malkin and the quality of player that he is. He's a guy that's won a scoring title and a Conn Smythe. We were anticipating getting him back in the lineup and healthy back in the lineup. This is a difficult injury for him."
The injury against the Buffalo Sabres, if you haven't seen it or need a refresher:
So now what for the Penguins?
Jordan Staal(notes) could slot in at No. 2 center or play wing; does GM Ray Shero could use the available cap space to go with a pivot or a winger? Here's a list of centers that go unrestricted next summer; no Malkins, obviously, but any quick fixes?
Along with Crosby and Malkin, standout rookie Mark Letestu(notes) is out up to six weeks. Could a move come sooner than the deadline? As Shero told ESPN: "The positive is that this happened today and not March 1."
One thing's for sure, in the short run: This is Jordan Staal's moment. The Penguins have managed to go 8-3-1 since Crosby went out. Now, minus both stars, it's Staal to the forefront. Strong words from Bylsma today about that:
"If he steps out of a shadow, it’s because you stop writing about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He’s been front and center and a big part of our team in being that guy for our team for our while."