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Crosby struggling without Malkin

Image (1) Malkin-thumb-250x186-7672.jpg for post 462

For those that argue that Sidney Crosby is the most complete player in the NHL, and at a higher level than some others around the league, he has some serious issues when Evgeni Malkin is not playing. According to Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review:

Although Malkin’s numbers this season are down from the lofty standards he has set, his value is becoming increasingly clear. The Penguins are 3-7 in the games he has missed.

Perhaps more alarmingly, Crosby, who is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL goal lead with 45, has produced zero goals and only three assists in the 10 games Malkin has missed.

Crosby had just three shots on net last night, and was frustrated all game by the Red Wings. That will happen when you’re facing Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski all night long, but it’s tough to deny that Crosby has issues creating his own space and scoring chances when Malkin isn’t playing next to him.

This certainly isn’t a case of anyone claiming that Crosby is just a product of Malkin’s genius (although that is an interesting research project for the future), and the Penguins are having more issues than just trying to get by while he is out due to injury.

Any team will struggle when you take away of their top-two players, and it’s up to the coach and the general manager to build a team that doesn’t completely fall apart when one player is lost. The Washington Capitals seem to get by just fine without Ovechkin -- with him, they are that much better but without him they are still a dangerous team.