Over the years, Evgeni Malkin has earned himself the reputation as one of the dirtier players in the league. However, the league never does anything about it because Malkin is also one of the more talented players in the NHL. It would be bad business for them to have to suspend one of the league’s star players for constantly being a dirty prick. So what has happened over the years is that Evgeni Malkin has built up this sense of invincibility. He thinks that he can just go out there and do whatever the hell he wants and there won’t be any major repercussions for his actions just because he is Evgeni Malkin. Actions such as using your hockey stick as a piece of weaponry and violently swing it towards another player’s face just because he rabbit punched you.
Yes. Michael Raffl was clearly an instigator here. You’d have to be an idiot not to see that. You mouth breathers in Pittsburgh complaining about the Raffl punches aren’t some sort of hockey geniuses or anything. We all saw it. But this is hockey and this is a heated rivalry between the Flyers and the Penguins. Punches are just a part of the game. And just because you get punched in the helmet by a player wearing an incredibly thick glove doesn’t mean that all bets are off and that you can then attempt to decapitate the guy out of retaliation. If the saying goes “an eye for an eye”, well then this was Evgeni Malkin attempting to take an eye for a finger nail.
And what’s even more troubling are Malkin and Mike Sullivan’s quotes about the incident after the game. Here they are via The Athletic–
First up is Malkin:
Buddy. Are you fucking kidding me here? It doesn’t matter if you whiffed on smacking him in the face or not. You still tried to Dr. Hook McCracken the guy out there. What is the league supposed to do? Just wait until you actually gash somebody’s face wide open before they suspend you? Wait until you take somebody’s eye out before they sit you for a few games? Evgeni Malkin should be thanking whatever god he believes in right now that he didn’t actually make contact with Raffl’s face because that’s some shit that not even a suspension would do enough justice for. It’s a scumbag retaliation from a scumbag player. And he still has the nerve to say that Raffl should have been given a penalty as well after he almost made the guy blind for the rest of his life.
And up next is Mike Sullivan, who was equally as brain dead about the incident:
Again, the fact that Raffl didn’t get seriously hurt here shouldn’t be used as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card by the Penguins. They should just be incredibly thankful that even though Malkin is a scumbag, he’s not a very efficient scumbag and wasn’t able to make direct contact here. But to chalk up swinging your stick like a psychopath toward another player’s face just because you got punched as “reactionary” is such a dangerous road the Pittsburgh Penguins are going down.
Because think about how many kids grow up playing the game right now want to be the next Evgeni Malkin. Think about how many kids are out there who are trying to emulate this guy’s game right now. When those kids watch this incident and see that Mike Sullivan is defending his player and the league very often does not suspend Malkin for this type of behavior, they start to think it’s okay too. They start to think that as long as they’re good enough, they can do whatever the hell they want out on the ice and nobody will have any problem with it. And that right there is why Evgeni Malkin is so bad for the game. Because not only is he a deranged lunatic himself, but he’s also inspiring a whole new generation of lunatics out there.
It was a violently dangerous play from Malkin that thankfully did not go anywhere close to as poorly as it could have gone. Hopefully the NHL is smart enough to realize that just because there was no serious injury on the play, that doesn’t change a thing. But that would be putting too much faith in the league.
P.S. – The Flyers scored very early into that Malkin 5-minute major powerplay.
That goal should have realistically made the game 3-2 considering the refs completely fucked the Flyers out of a goal earlier in the game. So a 3-2 game in the 3rd period with over 4 minutes left to play and the Flyers are on the powerplay for the rest of regulation? That’s an entirely different story than making it just a 3-1 game with that same situation. If that goal doesn’t get waved off earlier in the game, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Flyers end up tying that game last night and then they’d have all the momentum going into overtime. The refs robbed the Flyers of 2 huuuuuge huge points in the standings last night and that’s a certified fact. Cowards.