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Penguins star Evgeni Malkin to miss at least first two months of season after knee surgery

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 9/23/2021 Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without both of their superstar players through the start of the regular season. One may be out until some point next year.

Per Wes Crosby of the NHL's website, Penguins general manager Ron Hextall told reporters Thursday that center Evgeni Malkin will be sidelined for at least the first two months of the campaign as he continues to recover from the knee surgery he had in June. 

Malkin suffered the initial injury against the Boston Bruins on March 16 and remained out through early May. He later missed the opening two contests of the first-round playoff series versus the New York Islanders. 

In total, Malkin finished a disappointing 2020-21 season with only eight goals and 20 assists across 33 regular-season games. He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and ESPN's Emily Kaplan noted Hextall said there hasn't yet been any progress on the parties putting pen to paper on a possible extension. 

Malkin turned 35 years old this past July. 

It was last week during the NHL players preseason media tour that Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby admitted he wasn't sure when he'd be able to return from the surgery he had on his left wrist on Sept. 8. It's believed Crosby, 34, will miss a minimum of four games. 

The Penguins start the regular season at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 12.

"We're up against it. We all know it," Hextall added during his comments. "We're going to have some guys that will have an opportunity to show us some things that they probably wouldn't otherwise. We need some guys to step up. Just seeing the chemistry of our group last year, there's a good feel this year. I think we all know we're up against it. I think our guys are ready for the challenge."

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