The superstar center, who is seventh in the NHL in points despite having missed 11 games, suffered the injury in the first period of Pittsburgh's 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
“He got hurt on a play toward the net,” Bylsma said, being super descriptive. Perhaps too descriptive. Cool it, George R.R. Martin.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for Malkin, who was starting to play at an extremely high level. In a two-game span against Detroit and Tampa Bay he posted four goals and six points before Sunday’s game against the Blues.
“It was a strong couple of games and to get that news it is disappointing,” Bylsma said. “We’d like him to remember and watch the last couple of games in terms of how he was playing for 2-3 weeks from now.”
Yes, 2-3 weeks from now. As in, when the playoffs start.
We'll quibble here with the assessment that "the timing couldn't have been worse". Pittsburgh has two busy weeks coming up, sure, and Malkin was playing well, admittedly, but they also have the Metropolitan Division title wrapped up and they won't be catching Boston for first in the East. Their attention may as well turn to the playoffs, and in our humble opinion, a Malkin injury then would be much, much worse.
Provided Malkin remains on his recovery timeline and is ready for the postseason, this isn't all that bad.
The Penguins are only going to go as far as Malkin and Sidney Crosby can carry them, after all. When one of their stars isn't on the ice, this team is rarely the better one.
Part of that is because nobody else can stay healthy. Even now, Malkin joins Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis, Paul Martin, and Tomas Vokoun on the injured list. Only five players have dressed for all 71 games.
On the bright side, one of them is Sidney Crosby, which is a stark departure from previous seasons. Really, the Penguins should be revelling in their good luck.