Evgeni Malkin might be a little too riled up for Spring Training.
The Penguins star looked more like a member of the Pirates when he took a vicious swing at the head of rival Flyers forward Michael Raffl on Monday night.
While Malkin fortunately didn’t connect, he was tossed from the match Pittsburgh ended up winning 4-1. The NHL will hold a hearing Tuesday to determine whether Malkin will face a suspension.
Perhaps he’ll show more remorse there then he did immediately after the game.
“I’m not trying to hit his face. … I know it's dirty, but I missed,” Malkin told reporters afterward, his first following a five-game hiatus due to injury. “He just like dived and the referee give me five minutes. [He wasn’t] injured, not bleeding, nothing.”
The ugly clash occurred late in the third period with Pittsburgh already cruising to victory. The two got tangled up near the Flyers bench, and Raffl landed a punch to the back of Malkin’s head before the retaliation. Raffl, unlike Malkin, wasn’t sent to the sin bin.
“I just think on Geno’s part it was reactionary. He was getting punched in the back of the head [by Raffl]. It was a battle between the two of them and I think it was reactionary,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “I was a little surprised it was a match because the player didn’t get hurt on it or there wasn’t real significant contact. But that’s now how the referee saw it.”