If you missed last night’s matchup between the Division leading Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, you missed another absolute beauty in this decade plus long rivalry.
While it may have been Alex Ovechkin’s 1,000th NHL game, it was another Russian superstar, the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, who made headlines last night.
Malikn was eventually ejected from the game, which the Capitals would win 3-1, but before that he got into a heated exchange with Caps forward T.J. Oshie. Why? Well… watch for yourself:
Watch closely… do you see it? Yes, that’s Malkin slipping Oshie’s stick onto the Caps’ bench. Obviously Oshie took exception to this and decides to let Malkin know how he feels. The stick-less Oshie puts Malkin in a headlock and begins throwing punches at the big Russian. Malkin eventually gets free and manages a few shots of his own… but not enough for us to officially call this scuffle a fight. That’s the way the on-ice officials saw things as well, as both individuals earned themselves roughing minors. Because there was only a minute or so remaining in the game and because he had to be wrestled off the ice by officials however, Malkin never served a second of that penalty.
During the exchange with Oshie, which occurred directly in front of the Capitals’ bench, Malkin’s good friend Evgeny Kuznetsov apparently chimed in with some comments that absolutely set Malkin OFF.
Here’s the entire exchange, starting with Malkin’s stick flip:
Towards the second half of the clip you’ll see that Malkin is doing everything possible to get to Kuznetsov. Whatever was said, it should fired up, Geno Malkin.
Wait… so he was upset that Kuznetsov spoke to him in Russian? Or he’s upset that Kuznetsov spoke to him at all? We’re not clear on what exactly happened here…
Oh… okay, that explains it. I think. Still… this seems like an awfully silly reason to earn yourself a game ejection.
“We need to understand that we might see each other in the playoffs. We send message. We're ready to play in the playoffs, maybe in the second round.”
Ah! That explains it!
Any way you look at things though, Malkin comes out looking foolish. He ends up taking himself out of a game when he could have been a very valuable player in the final 60 seconds for a surging Penguins squad. As it is, he had to be wrestled off the ice by officials. Not exactly Geno’s best night in the NHL. Thankfully for him, he’s earned the right to go off every now and again.