Geno Malkin put on a show today that had to have every Penguins fan thinking of Mario Lemieux.

He scored a goal from a ridiculous angle and he scored a goal after stick handling through the entire Tampa Bay lineup.


Sidney Crosby has a lot of work to do if he’s going to re-establish himself as the best player in the world.

It’s not just about Malkin’s numbers.

It’s how he’s getting them. There is not another player on the planet with his size and reach who can handle the puck and shoot the way he can. That’s what set Lemieux apart. He wasn’t just the most skilled player in the league. He was also one of the tallest.

Crosby does things that Malkin can’t do that don’t show up on the scoeboard and he was actually putting up more points per game before he got hurt last season than Malkin is now.

If (and that if gets bigger every day) Crosby comes back and picks up where he left off, the NHL owners might try to convince Gary Bettman that it’s just not fair to let one team have two players who are so much better than everybody else.

  • jwit

    Before we get carried away on the Mario comparisons, I just read on empty netters that geno has 9 hat tricks in his career. Mario HAD FORTY! FORTY. Geno is great, but mario is just from another planet.
    How spoiled are we as Pens Fans and how great has it been to watch all this.

    • John Steigerwald

      You don’t have to remind me. Lemieux is the best player I have ever seen in any team sport at any time.

  • Darren

    I remember the “1A / 1B” talk when it was Ovechkin / Malkin as the top two choices in the draft with the comments that Ovechkin was more NHL ready at the time and Malkin may have a bigger top end in the long run as a more complete player. Well those turned out to be some of the most accurate scouting reports in the history of scouting reports now didn’t they? Does anyone think Washington would still take Ovechkin first overall if they could go back in time right now? Malkin knows what the own end of his ice looks like and is an excellent defender. I still have to put the disclaimer that as good as Malkin has been and Crosby was last year… still not at the Lemieux level. Not a knock on them at all… Lemieux was just so good.

  • a-dawg

    This goes to show what Malkin can do when playing with the top talent on his team. All these years up until now, it’s been the Sid Crosby show. Everything centered around Sid…while Geno got the left-overs.

    I think they are a true 1A and 1B talent. They each do their thing and do it well. But for years all you heard was ‘Sid needs this…” or ‘Sid needs that….”. You never heard one freaking peep about what Geno needs….just throw Dupruis or some other half-talent at him and see what he does.

    And that caused him to be streaky with his points….cause you can’t always do it all by yourself. He had to rely on the half-talents around him. Now that he is playing with the top dogs of his squad….he is showing Pittsburgh and the rest of the NHL how great he is!! Go Pens!

  • metalslam

    That goal was freaking spectacular. You can only shake your head & thank god we got him & Sid.

  • Erik

    Any predictions on what the penguins do at the trade deadline John?

    • John Steigerwald

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they do nothing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up with Rick Nash. That’s what makes it interesting.

    • ISteve Roissy

      Craig Simpson for Paul Coffey

      • franji1

        No – they’re gonna trade Carlyle in the hopes of securing that #1 pick for a franchise player 😉

  • Tattoo Rick

    Malkin is the most skilled and physically talented player since Lemieux. Crosby is a little guy and has proven that he is a bit fragile. The old saying goes good big man always beats good small man. Size matters. Crosby will never be able to do things that Malkin can do. Malkin on the other hand can develop the things people seem to think he doesn’t do as well as Crosby. People are warming up to Malkin now that there is serious doubt about Sids career. As long as Crosby was playing Malkin would never get the respect he deserved. People just don’t seem to buy in to a guy that can’t speak English expecially if he is Russian. Its the old North American bias in Hockey,, its alive and well.

    • John Steigerwald

      Before he got hurt, Crosby was playing even better than Malkin is now. It’s a good debate.

    • Dan

      I like to save the who’s better stuff until after the season. Keep in mind it’s easy to get caught up in these claims when Malkin’s in the middle of a hot streak like this. If you can say the same thing when he’s slumping then that’s OK.

      I really hope his command of English takes a quantum leap forward. He’s an engaging personality and very charismatic, but I have a lot of friends who tell me one of the reasons they can’t get into the NHL like they can football is because half the league doesn’t speak English or sounds like cavemen when they give an interview. I think it’s stupid, but it’s reality.

      • John Steigerwald

        Malkin’s English is as good or better than lots of NFL players.

  • Dan

    He’s as big a star as they come. It was an amazing performance and there’s no better spectacle in sports than a supremely talented hockey player who takes a game over like that.

    • John Steigerwald

      Best player in the best spectator sport in the world.

      • Meathead

        Then why does it lack spectators?

        • John Steigerwald

          Not enough kids play it. Canadians don’t play it because they watch it. They watch it because they played it. I’ve watched my son and four grandsons play hockey and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best sport for kids and whatever is second best isn’t close. I leave every one of their practices wishing I had played the game but it wasn’t available when I was a kid.

  • Jeff S

    Headed to the Bluejackets game today. I hope to see him make a few players look silly live.

  • ISteve Roissy

    Fleury is really coming on too. He’s almost in the top 10 in goals against avg. and almost in the top 20 in save percentage now.

    • John Steigerwald

      Those stats are overrated. He was as good in the 1st and second periods as Malkin was in the 2nd and 3rd.

      • Deuce

        Goals against average is definitely overrated because it relies too much on the rest of the team. Save percentage is still the best barometer of a goaltenders success. All the best goalies have had high saver percentages….Roy, Brodeur, Hasek, Thomas, etc.

        Fleury’s a very good goaltender…but not an elite one. He fits perfectly within the Pens like how Barrasso did back in the 90’s…and he’s even better than Tommy. He’s a money goalie…there may be ten or more goalies in the league who have better numbers but when it comes to the playoffs there aren’t many I’d take over Fleury…..mental lapses and all he’s in my top 3 I’d take in a playoff series.

        • John Steigerwald

          Save percentage doesn’t account for the difficulty of a save. A guy could give up three goals on 10 shots and all three could be shots that he had no chance to stop. Another guy could stop 24 of 25 easy shots and give up a soft goal and lose 1-0. I think you have to see a goalie play a lot of games to determine how good he is. Fleury is an elite goalie. I actually think wins is the most important stat. If you don’t stop enough shots for your team to win, you won’t keep your job.

          • ISteve Roissy

            Fleury is really good and definitely a championship level player. Its just funny how provincial Pittsburgh is sometimes. People, including media members, will say Fleury is one of the top 5 goaltenders in the world and they couldn’t even name 10 other goalies if they had to. Its like the comment you always hear that Heath Miller is the best blocking tight end in the league. Really? Can you even name 10 others outside of Antonio Gates and gronkowski? Have you broken down film of their blocking?

    • Dr. Phibes

      Almost top 10 in GAA and top 20 in save percentage are not exactly high distinctions, especially for a vet and franchise goalie like Fleury. Still, like JS states below, he is playing better than that. I’m not the biggest Fleury fan but his “out-to-lunch” games and his occasional forays far outside the goal crease when play is happening around the goal have diminished over the past 2 years. He’ll steal more wins for the Pens than he’ll cost them with bad games.

      • John Steigerwald

        Keep in mind that you see ALL of Fleury’s games or at least most of them. Over 82- 100 games in a season you are going to see his flaws. Every goalie has them but you notice your own goalie’s more.

        • ISteve Roissy

          Fleury is really good, wouldn’t trade him. There are 10 to 12 star golaies in the league and he is one of them, and that’s OK. Doesn’t mean we have to say best in the world or top 3 because its Pittsburgh and the guys on ‘DVE like him n’at.

          • John Steigerwald

            I don’t think there are nine or 10 goalies who would be picked ahead of Fleury if the NHL decided to make all goalies free agents and have a draft. Three or four maybe.

          • Tim

            Canadian goaltending isn’t what it once was but each Olympic team picks 3 goalies for its roster and Fleury was one of them in Vancouver. The other 2 were Brodeur, who is on his last legs and Luongo who is a playoff headcase.

        • Dr. Phibes

          I think you’re right about that.