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Evgeni Malkin Might Have Returned For Third Round Of NHL Playoffs

Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette reports that injured Penguins star Evgeni Malkin might have returned for the third round of the NHL Playoffs, if only the Pens had made it this far. That's pretty shocking, considering that Malkin suffered a torn ACL and MCL just over three months ago. But apparently Malkin's desire to return in the playoffs wasn't purely wishful thinking:

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"This is a guy who really, really is a quick healer," general manager Ray Shero said, although he added that "whether it would have happened or not remains to be seen."

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Shero said Malkin had approached Dr. Charles Burke, the Penguins' team physician, about his desire to get back in action before training camp, at which point Burke went to Shero, saying, "I just need to know, do you want me throw cold water on this?"

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Shero responded that unless there was a medical reason that Malkin should be reined in, he had no problem with dangling the carrot of carrot of an earlier-than-expected return in front of him.

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Having Malkin back would have helped a lot - they still would have been without Sidney Crosby, but the Pens suffered a great deal late in season from their lack of star power and their lack of a strong power play.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.