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Thread: Gorman: Mad Malkin good for Penguins

      
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    Default Gorman: Mad Malkin good for Penguins

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    Evgeni Malkin
    Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

    About the writer
    Kevin Gorman is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-320-7812 or via e-mail.

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    Don't worry about the mindset of the most important player to the Penguins' Stanley Cup hopes following the Winter Olympics.

    Evgeni Malkin is mad.

    This should make you happy.

    Not to suggest that Malkin is sulking after he and his Russian teammates left Vancouver empty-handed, thanks to Penguins captain and Olympic hero Sidney Crosby.

    Instead, Malkin was in a jovial mood in the dressing room Monday, good-naturedly taking questions about the disappointment of losing to Canada in the quarterfinals. Malkin is intent on transforming that frustration into motivation and helping the Penguins make another run for the Cup.

    "Yeah, of course," Malkin said. "It's my life. It's a hockey life. I know it's tough, but everyone has a couple (bad) losses. It's OK. It's a game. I'll be OK."

    If you were thinking that Crosby is the key to whether the Penguins can repeat as Stanley Cup champions, think again. Crosby is the team's unquestioned star, but we know he's always wired to win. And he showed in Sunday's gold-medal game how he's capable of delivering in the clutch.

    When Malkin is miserable, as he was during a late stretch of the 2008 playoffs, the Penguins have a problem. When Malkin is mad, as he was during the Cup Final last June, the Penguins are practically unstoppable.

    The Malkin Madness dates back to a game against Tampa Bay on Feb. 4, 2008, inspired when Mark Recchi checked Malkin from behind with the Lightning leading, 3-0, in the third period. An agitated Malkin answered with two goals and an assist, scoring the game-winner with 15.5 seconds left for a 4-3 overtime victory after the Penguins had lost 11 of their previous 17 games.

    "I'm mad," Malkin said, "because we're losing."

    So it was reassuring to hear Malkin express some post-Olympic anger yesterday by promising to be among the NHL's best players in the final 20 regular-season games.

    "I'm ready," Malkin said. "Of course, I'm a little bit mad after the Olympics, but life continues. It's a new day. These are new games."

    Going into the Olympics, Malkin had rediscovered his old game, one that had him in the conversation about the game's best player. Although he is tied for 12th in league scoring with 65 points, Malkin scored 22 points in the 13 games before the break, a blistering average of 1.69 points per.

    Don't underestimate how badly Russia wanted to win the Winter Games. President Dmitry Medvedev demanded yesterday that sports officials resign after Russia placed 11th in gold medals and sixth overall, the first finish outside the top five in post-Soviet history. The country was stunned that its hockey team, the Olympic co-favorite, didn't make it to the medal round.

    "We wanted the gold medal and we didn't get it," defenseman Sergei Gonchar said, "so it's probably one of the biggest disappointments so far in my career."

    Malkin responded to one of the biggest disappointments of his NHL career - when he disappeared midway through the 2008 Eastern Conference final and into the Stanley Cup Final - by scoring 113 points to win the Art Ross Trophy and 36 playoff points to add the Conn Smythe Trophy last year.

    Malkin Madness came to a crescendo in Game 2 of that Cup Final at Detroit.

    And when Malkin is mad, he goes down swinging.

    He amassed 19 penalty minutes, including an instigator penalty for fighting with Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg with 19 seconds left in that 3-1 Game 2 loss. The NHL rescinded an automatic suspension, and Malkin had three assists in Game 3 and a goal and an assist in Game 4 as the Penguins won four of the final five games to defeat the defending champions.

    "We're the Stanley Cup champions," Malkin said. "We need to be in the playoffs, playing together. Sid is coming back, and we need to play now as a team - not later."

    Now that Malkin is mad, the Penguins improved their chances of playing later than any team in the Eastern Conference.

    That should make the rest of the NHL miserable.

    And Penguins fans very happy.

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    Default Re: Gorman: Mad Malkin good for Penguins

    The Malkin Madness dates back to a game against Tampa Bay on Feb. 4, 2008, inspired when Mark Recchi checked Malkin from behind with the Lightning leading, 3-0, in the third period. An agitated Malkin answered with two goals and an assist, scoring the game-winner with 15.5 seconds left for a 4-3 overtime victory after the Penguins had lost 11 of their previous 17 games.
    Wasn't that the game where Malkin went in during one of the intermissions and threw down some money or something and challenged the team to win?

    I agree with the writer however. Malkin is a key. Fleury is the other key. Hot goalies are a thing of beauty in the playoffs they can get teams (Roloson and the Oilers, even Ward and the Hurricanes) to the finals when the rest of the team wasn't exactly stellar.

    for some reason, when Malkin is amped the rest of the team gets amped and follows his lead. Sid might be the Captain, wear the letter, douing to talking to the refs and that stuff, but the team doesn't get motivated behind him like I've seen with Geno

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