The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without another star to begin the 2021-22 season.
Evgeni Malkin is set to miss at least the first two months of the season, Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall said Thursday. Malkin is still recovering from knee surgery he had in June.
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“Geno is not going to play for at least the first two months. That’s where we’re at right now,” Hextall said, the team posted on its website.
Malkin played in 33 games last season for the Penguins and scored eight goals while contributing 20 assists. It was his lowest goal total since the 2012-13 season. The Penguins played a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Pittsburgh was already expecting Sidney Crosby to miss some games to start the season after suffering a wrist injury. The Penguins said on Sept. 8 that Crosby would miss six weeks.
Coach Mike Sullivan knows the challenges that come with the absence of both Malkin and Crosby.
“They’re two generational talents, so those guys aren’t easy to replace,” he said. “I think that speaks for itself. Having said that, whenever players go down from an injury standpoint, it’s going to provide opportunity for others. They need to step up. They’ve got to take advantage of it. That’s the nature of pro sports. So we’ve got some young guys that we’re excited about who have showed glimpses of pretty solid hockey, and we’ll see which guys can step up and contribute to help us win games.”
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Pittsburgh’s regular season begins against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 12.