Since May last year, Evgeni Malkin, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, of the National Hockey League (NHL), has not played on the ice. In the summer, he underwent a serious knee operation and since then has been recovering long and hard. But his return turned out to be triumphant. In the first match, after a long pause, Zhenya, or Gino, as he is called in North America, scored 3 (2 goals + 1 assists) points, and his “Pittsburgh” beat Anaheim big – 4: 1. Malkin himself was recognized as the first star of the meeting.
– I feel great, – said Eugene, quoted by the official website of the NHL. – It was a long recovery process. The biggest pause without hockey in my life. And I was very happy to return to the team. Of course, I was nervous before the match. And it turned out to be not perfect. But it’s good that we won, and I scored a couple of goals. It’s great! Now it is much easier for me. The more you play, the more comfortable you feel. This was my first match. Of course, after such a break, I made a couple of losses. But I have to play more and my physique will get better.
And the first star of the whole game day was another Russian, Tampa Bay Lightning striker Nikita Kucherov. He also did not play for a long time due to injury. The match against “Buffalo” was for him only the third after recovery. But there seemed to be no pause. Nikita, with his usual ease, scored a hat-trick, making the main contribution to the defeat of “Buffalo” – 6: 1.
– What was the most difficult thing after returning? I think that’s all. You don’t play that long, and then you immediately jump into the game. You need time to get used to it. Each time it becomes more and more difficult to do it, – said the Russian hockey player.
And here is what the head coach of “Tampa” John Cooper said about Kucherov: “You only see the points scored. And I see all these small, subtle and imperceptible things that he does in defense and in quick attacks. which we coaches really have a lot of respect and value. That is what makes him such a special player. “
This is Kucherov’s fourth hat-trick in his NHL career. It remains to complain once again that hockey players from the North American League will not play at the upcoming Winter Olympics.