According to Sidney Crosby, it is by virtue of an iron will that Evgeni Malkin will be able to reach the plateau of 1,000 games in the National Hockey League (NHL), all with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Malkin, 36, is still an important cog in the Penguins, once again averaging more than one point per game. However, he underwent two operations on his right knee, in April 2011 and June 2021.
A few hours before this fateful game against the Blackhawks in Chicago which was to allow Malkin to reach this plateau on Sunday , Crosby was quick to point out that very few players have been able to continue their careers in this situation.
“It's a remarkable achievement,” said the Pennsylvania team captain, according to the official NHL website. You also have to consider all that he has been through. Several players might have stopped playing if they had lived through all that he went through as hardships. I think that's an accomplishment in itself, but even more so when you consider what it took him to get there.”
“Playing the way he does after having two ligament surgeries past crossover, I don't think a lot of players would be able to do that,” added Crosby, who has teamed up with Malkin since his first game on the league.
Of course, Malkin got a shower of praise when his teammates and coaches were asked to comment on his career. Mike Sullivan did not fail to recall his major role in the two Stanley Cup conquests under his rule.
““Geno” is a real competitor, said the driver. I think his competitive spirit sometimes goes under the radar. But he must be considered a generational talent. He's been such a big part of our Stanley Cup wins since I've been here.
“Having him approaching this plateau is just proof of his dedication to hockey, his passion for the sport, his willingness to put in the necessary effort. You have to recognize his talent. He's an elite player.”
Before Sunday's game, Malkin had scored 451 goals and totaled 1,165 points in 999 games. He was selected second in the 2004 draft, just after his compatriot Alexander Ovechkin.