Playing on the same line as fellow phenom Sidney Crosby, Malkin was terrific and now has a goal in each of his first four games in the NHL. Forgettable ex-Ranger Steven King (no, not the writer) was the last rookie to get off to such a good start. What makes Malkin’s start so impressive is that he missed most of training camp with a shoulder injury.
Don’t look now, Pittsburgh Penguins fans, but eight games into the 2006-07 season, your team is currently sitting atop the Atlantic Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference.
Now I know it’s far too early to suggest the Pens can keep up this pace. This club still needs a lot of work defensively and their lack of skilled depth on the blueline and on their checking lines will probably drag them down in the standings as the season progresses.
But after last season’s horrific start that sunk any hopes of getting with sniffing distance of the 2006 playoffs, this year’s holds a lot more promise.
Soon, the Tigers won’t be a smoke screen for the Red Wings, who went on a four-game western road trip last week and returned having scored just six goals, including three in their final three outings, all defeats.
There are a number of things that have to happen for the Flyers to turn things around, but topping the list might be rejuvenating their player with the most upside, Joni Pitkanen.