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Thread: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

      
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    Default Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Shift to wing should spark Malkin

    By Rob Rossi, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Sunday, September 5, 2010





    When his right foot finally heals, center Jordan Staal is moving up in the Penguins' lineup.

    That means center Evgeni Malkin is moving over, but don't expect coach Dan Bylsma to make any definitive declaration.

    He hasn't yet, and there is little need to because trying Malkin as a wing is a no-brainer for these Penguins as they are constructed: stout on defense, rich with role players and deep down the middle but with $21.4 million in cap space tied into three star centers.

    Oh, and they lack impact wings.

    Malkin has been one of those before, and it's tough to imagine the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup this season without him getting a chance to become one again.
    Bylsma repeatedly has said Malkin was a second-line anchor as mostly a right wing during the 2009 Stanley Cup run. His 14 goals and 36 points landed the playoff MVP, but forward Max Talbot held the essential center duties neutral- and defensive-zone faceoffs, deep back-checking on that line.

    During a two-day visit to Moscow last month, Bylsma was reminded by Malkin that he played wing almost exclusively for Russia's silver-medal team at the 2010 world championships.

    Talbot said in July that playing wing as opposed to center "wouldn't mess with Geno's head or anything like that." Malkin told Bylsma he would love to play on a line with Staal, with whom he played four years ago when they were rookies even if Staal was the center.

    Staal said this week that Malkin "is pretty excited" about reuniting with him consistently for the first time since they combined for 62 goals as rookie linemates in 2006-07. Malkin should be excited. Any scenario would be better than last season: 28 goals and 77 points in 67 games, all career lows.

    In two previous seasons, each MVP runner-up campaigns, he combined for 82 goals and 219 points while playing every game.

    Injuries, notably a sketchy shoulder, caused Malkin to miss time last season, and in those contests he averaged only 1.24 points. Contrast that with top center Sidney Crosby's injury-plagued season three years ago when, despite missing 29 games, he averaged 1.36 points to finish with 24 goals and 72 points.

    Malkin, fairly, is expected to match Crosby on the ice because their salary-cap hits are team-high equals at $8.7 million. Still, at no point in his career had Crosby been saddled with linemates who struggled like Malkin's did last season. At the time of wing Alexei Ponikarovsky's acquisition just before the trade deadline, the Penguins had received nine goals from Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko the duo that Malkin played with on that 2009 Cup run.

    By the second round of the playoffs, Bylsma had sacked Ponikarovsky and Fedotenko from the lineup because of their ineffectiveness.

    Criticism of Malkin for his dropoff last season was warranted. He should have scored more goals despite missing 15 games. He needed to be more consistent when he did play; 11 games without a goal from December-January didn't cut it.

    "I should be better," Malkin said a couple of days after the Penguins were bounced from the playoffs.

    He would be better as a wing on a line with Staal and, perhaps, left wing Matt Cooke.
    Last season, Staal and Cooke combined for 36 goals, and they've teamed for 48 since Bylsma made them the yin-and-yang components of a third line upon his hiring Feb. 15, 2009.

    Malkin, a so-called "feel player" but also an underappreciated student of hockey's technical fine points, has thought hard about all the chances he had to create for himself last season because of his linemates' limited productivity. Too often was he forced into believing he needed to create something from nothing.

    Think of all the quality chances right wing Tyler Kennedy didn't capitalize on last season on that third line, all the free room he had with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone because of the puck-possession success by Cooke and Staal.

    No lineup is safe in the modern NHL, where in-period adjustments rule. Still, imagine all those chances going to Malkin, and it becomes easy to envision him living life in peace as a wing.
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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing



    I was curious so I went and looked and I guess it's a good thing I have saved every game day graphic cause i wanted to see when Talbot started playing on the 2nd line with Malkin in the 08-09 Playoffs. It was Game 6 against Philadelphia that we ended up clinching. Sykora got benched. Malkin already lead the team in Playoff goals and Points at the time and it was when he got paired with Max in what I guess Bylsma is eluding to "centering" the 2nd line, Malkin's line started to fall in production against the Crapitals.

    I'm still skeptical on how this will all go about. I'm not one bit wild about Staal centering a scoring line or even playing on one because we've all seen how lousy the production is when Staal's lines are forced into 2nd line roles due to injuries. But if Geno is cool with it and it sounds like he is then I guess it won't hurt to see if Staal can finally succeed in a scoring line role
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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    I think it will help both players.

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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    I think it will help both players.
    On papaer it should, but we said that before when staal had to play on the 2nd line and he ends up going back down to the 3rd line after struggling to produce. Hopefully some age and maturity in his game will help.

    Anyone want to guess who will play 2nd Line LW?
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    They have tried this many times before and the conclusion drawn everytime is that it's better for them to each have their own line. We won the cup with a 3rd line that no one could properly defend. Now we have a standard 3rd line. I guess if this is going to be the best defense in the league like they think then maybe it doesn't matter as much. New strengths. I don't know how it's going to pan out I am no hockey expert but it will certainly be interesting to watch. This should be the biggest changes the team has seen since Malkin and Staal were rooks.

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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    They have tried this many times before and the conclusion drawn everytime is that it's better for them to each have their own line. We won the cup with a 3rd line that no one could properly defend. Now we have a standard 3rd line. I guess if this is going to be the best defense in the league like they think then maybe it doesn't matter as much. New strengths. I don't know how it's going to pan out I am no hockey expert but it will certainly be interesting to watch. This should be the biggest changes the team has seen since Malkin and Staal were rooks.
    Best Defense in the world is going to need their franchise goalie to put forth elite results.

    If Staal and Malkin click... which again on paper they should and maybe this is the year and Comrie and Sid clicjk, we could have the best offensive fire power this era has seen. At that point you need that 3rd line to be that energy grinding line that we have the pieces for it to be
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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    On papaer it should, but we said that before when staal had to play on the 2nd line and he ends up going back down to the 3rd line after struggling to produce. Hopefully some age and maturity in his game will help.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Anyone want to guess who will play 2nd Line LW?[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Talbot since he is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO great with Geno

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Best Defense in the world is going to need their franchise goalie to put forth elite results.

    If Staal and Malkin click... which again on paper they should and maybe this is the year and Comrie and Sid clicjk, we could have the best offensive fire power this era has seen. At that point you need that 3rd line to be that energy grinding line that we have the pieces for it to be
    I think the upgraded defense will make MAF better and also make him more motivated. I'm not even worried about that. Last year the D hung him out to dry about as many softies he let in. I am really anxious to see how the new PP does post Gonch and post Yeo.

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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilpens View Post
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    Talbot since he is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO great with Geno
    To be fair, Talbot looked great with Geno in the playoffs. He created a lot of space on the forecheck for Geno nd then had the injury and offseason surgery and never looked like the same guy last season that he was prior to the injury/surgery.

    Same thing happened with Kennedy. Got injured BOOM, looks like half the player he was. Goligoski looked ****ing fantastic the start of last year and BOOM injury, comes back and looks like half the player he was earlier in the year. Malkin looked the same as well.

    It's almost like the Pens players weren't supposed to or allowed to recover from their injuries last season. Even if they were minor or short lived, everyone who was injured at one point last year and out for a few games never came abck and looked right.

    For the question... I'd say Dupuis except he's a RW and that's where Malkin plays. I'm really at a loss figuring out the LW slot on Line 2.
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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    To be fair, Talbot looked great with Geno in the playoffs. He created a lot of space on the forecheck for Geno nd then had the injury and offseason surgery and never looked like the same guy last season that he was prior to the injury/surgery.

    Same thing happened with Kennedy. Got injured BOOM, looks like half the player he was. Goligoski looked ****ing fantastic the start of last year and BOOM injury, comes back and looks like half the player he was earlier in the year. Malkin looked the same as well.

    It's almost like the Pens players weren't supposed to or allowed to recover from their injuries last season. Even if they were minor or short lived, everyone who was injured at one point last year and out for a few games never came abck and looked right.

    For the question... I'd say Dupuis except he's a RW and that's where Malkin plays. I'm really at a loss figuring out the LW slot on Line 2.
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    Default Re: Malkin Prepping to Move To Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Eagle7187 View Post
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    Not sure I'd lay down money on that one
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