Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins will miss the first two months of the season.

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Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins will miss the first two months of the season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed Thursday that veteran center Evgeni Malkin would miss at least the first two months of the 2021-22 season as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.

“Geno will not play for at least the first two months,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said. “Right now, that’s where we are.”

Before getting hurt in a collision with Boston Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi on March 16, Malkin was averaging a point per game. Due to a knee injury, Malkin was forced to miss the final six weeks of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs.

After the Penguins were eliminated in June, Malkin, 35, returned to the ice for four postseason games before undergoing the knee treatment.

Malkin is in the final year of an eight-year, $76 million contract he signed in 2013 when he was drafted into the NHL. Malkin, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agency next summer, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to Hextall.

Hextall also provided an update on star center Sidney Crosby, who is still out while recovering from wrist surgery he underwent earlier this month.

Crosby, 34, is likely to return sooner than Malkin, with Crosby’s recuperation timeframe initially set at six weeks. Crosby was practicing alone ahead of the Penguins’ training camp, which starts this week.

Sid has been skating almost every day, according to Hextall. “He’s not in control of the puck. He’s holding the puck in one hand. However, everything is going swimmingly. He’s putting forth a lot of effort on the ice. He’s sticking to the schedule we told him, which was a minimum of six weeks.”

With Crosby and Malkin out, the Penguins will most likely start the season with 36-year-old Jeff Carter on the top line.

“We’re in a tight spot. “We’re all aware of it,” Hextall stated. “We’re going to have some guys who will be able to show us certain things that they wouldn’t normally be able to show us. It’s time for some men to step forward.

“Based on our group’s relationship last year, I have a good feeling about this year. We all know we’re up against it, I believe. “I believe our soldiers are up to the task.”

The Penguins haven’t won a Stanley Cup since winning back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Article Summary from Nokia News

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