Saturday, July 6, 2013

File Profile: Evgeni Malkin

                                                            Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

     Name: Evgeni "Geno" Malkin

     Achievements: (2.) 2006-07: Calder-Rookie of the Year
                                    2008-09: Art Ross-Scoring Champion
                                    2009:    Conn Smythe-Playoff MVP
                                    2011-12: Art Ross-Scoring Champion
                                    2011-12: Hart-Most Valuable Player
                                    2011-12: Lester Pearson-Player Assn. Top Player

     Career Stats(2.)(as of 2013 off season): Regular Season-  458 Games Played,  217 Goals, 343 Assists, 560 Points    Postseason- 83 Games Played, 36 Goals, 61 Assists, 97 Points

     Strengths: -Strong slapshot
                      -Puck Movement & Stick Handling
                      - Good Vision
                      - Great Hockey Instinct

     Areas for Improvement: - Defensive Game
                                             - Stepping up in the clutch
                                             - Controlling his emotions (leads to taking dumb penalties)

     Evgeni Malkin is arguably one of, if not, the best hockey player in the world today. Though as of late Malkin has had times where he has gone unnoticed, he still has the capability of taking over a game. Case in point, go back to Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. Malkin dominated the game registering a Hat Trick, but the way he finished it off is something that will be talked about for a long time to come. With two goals, Malkin was set for a faceoff in Carolina's zone. Malkin would win the faceoff, bounce the puck off the end board and skate behind the net with a defender on him. As Malkin came out on the other side of the net with the defender still on him, he released a wicked backhander that would go over the shoulder of Carolina Goalie Cam Ward and into the net. The entire crowd went into a frenzy, with Malkin's parents in the crowd sharing their joy and excitement with Pens Nation at what their son just did!

     Malkin has great vision and when he creates space, he becomes a magician with the puck by showcasing his amazing puck control and stick handling abilities, Malkin becomes a human highlight reel! Here are some highlights!

     For as awe-aspiring Malkin's talents are, he, like any other player, still has his flaws. These flaws not only affect Malkin's play, but his team's as a whole. Malkin is not necessarily known for his defensive game. Though he has improved it, he still commits costly turnovers that have led to scoring opportunities for the opposition. Just as equally debilitating is Malkin's control of his emotions (Or lack thereof). With his emotions running wild, Malkin will take costly penalties and put his team at a disadvantage by forcing his team to go on the Penalty Kill(PK), again putting the other team in a great position for a scoring opportunity.

     As good as Malkin is with the puck with his great vision and puck control and stick handling abilities, he often will force a play and try to make something happen when it is not there. This is another reason for Malkin's turnovers. At times, Malkin will pass up great scoring chances of his own, and instead pass it to one of his line mates even if they are not set up in the best position to score. Though this may be evident for the fact that Malkin  puts his team first before individual success.

     Evgeni Malkin has accomplished so much in just six seasons. Malkin will be 27 at the start of next season and is getting ready to enter his prime. With more experience as seasons and years go by, Malkin should and will be able to naturally improve upon the flaws in his game, all the while maintaining his high offensive productions and dynamic game play and performance!

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Sources: (1.) Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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