Evgeni Malkin is Back, Baby


For most Stanley Cup champion-winning teams, there always comes a reckoning with Father Time, and the competitive cycle. But there always are outliers, and one of them – the battered-but-buoyant Pittsburgh Penguins – is about to get even better with the return of superstar forward Evgeni Malkin.

To be where the Penguins are right now – fourth in the Metropolitan Division, two standings points behind the third-place Washington Capitals and three points behind the second-place New York Rangers, with two games in hand on both the Caps and Rangers – is a credit to the culture and talent that still powers the Pens, even as Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby are in the back nine of their Hall-of-Fame careers. And they’ve shown they can win without a fully healthy roster. Pittsburgh played without Crosby for the first 12 games of the season, and Malkin just returned for his first regular-season game of the year.

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