There aren’t many players that have won the Calder, Hart, Ross, Smythe, Ted Lindsay, and the Stanley Cup. But Evgeni Malkin is one of them, and it just proves what a great player he really is.
Often, when NHLers discuss the best players in the league, many say the same thing. When experts and analysts rank the best player in the league or the best players in the last decades, Malkin is often forgotten. But everyone who’s played against him ranks him very high, often just behind teammate Sidney Crosby and Russian phenom Alexander Ovechkin.
Evgeni Malkin is strong, agile, and extremely technically gifted. He’s always scored loads of goals and is a world-class playmaker. But his greatest asset is his winning mentality. Malkin has always strived to get better, to be the best, to prove everyone wrong. And sometimes, it hasn’t even better that he’s had a jaw-dropping game. If he doesn’t perform the way he wants, nothing matters.
When Sidney Crosby joined the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast as a guest, co-host and former Penguins player Ryan Whitney shared an awesome story about Malkin from a game in 2007. The Pittsburgh Penguins had just won 5-0 over the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Geno had five assists. He helped with every goal the Pens scored that night, but he still wasn’t happy.
”My favorite story is when he had five assists against the Maple Leafs and smashed his stick into 100 pieces. You remember that game?” Whitney, who played in Pittsburgh at the time, asked Crosby.
Crosby, unfortunately, didn’t remember. But Whitney certainly did.
”We beat the Leafs 5-0 at home, he had five assists. He got into the locker room and he was so mad he didn’t score, so he smashed his stick in the shower and I really mean into a 100 pieces. But I mean … he had five assists. It was just a classic memory,” he said.
That’s a winning mentality at its finest!