Evgeni Malkin was down for a minute, but he'll apparently be out for a whole lot longer.
Mike Sullivan described Malkin's status as "week to week" following the Penguins' 2-1 overtime loss to the Flyers on Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena, the first game Malkin missed after being crosschecked in the ribs the previous day by the Blues' Robert Bortuzzo. It hadn't been known until Malkin was absent from pregame warmups Sunday that he was hurt at all.
In Sullivan's descriptions of a player's injury, he'll use generally use "day to day" when someone is likely to be out roughly a few days. He'll use "week to week" when it's a couple weeks to a month. He'll use "longer term" when it's definitely several weeks.
For further perspective on what that might mean: The Penguins have nine games left in the regular season, which ends for them April 6, or three weeks away. The Stanley Cup playoffs almost certainly will begin April 10 or 11.
Sullivan didn't come close to elaborating on a timeline for Malkin but did acknowledge the scope of the loss: "He's obviously a tough guy to replace. He's an elite player, so that speaks for itself. As far as what we'll do moving forward, we'll probably take it game by game."
For this game, Teddy Blueger centered the second line and, in addition to scoring the Penguins' lone goal, generally performed well at both ends between Phil Kessel and Bryan Rust. That's almost certain to buy him more time in that role.
This was Bortuzzo's crosscheck on Malkin, which went uncalled on the ice and didn't draw supplemental discipline from the NHL's Department of Player Safety, assuming it was even reviewed:
He was down for a while, then helped off by athletic trainer Chris Stewart, but continued playing without any visible signs of discomfort. Didn't miss a single shift, actually.
By Sunday, he was nowhere to be seen.
The Penguins already were missing Kris Letang, Olli Maatta,Zach Aston-Reese and Chad Ruhwedel.