Fan base, community making push for Penguins' Malkin
The Penguins have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs for more than a month, but one of their best players remains in a tournament.
Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's leading scorer for a second time this season, is fresh off leading Russia to a gold medal in the World Championships and is in the running to become the NHL's latest cover boy for EA NHL 2013.
The marketing of Malkin to make the cover of the famous video game has served as a fun endeavor following the team's surprisingly early dismissal from the postseason.
“Our staff has had a lot of fun with it,” Penguins vice president of communications Tom McMillan said. “And the fans clearly are having fun with it, too.”
So, too, are public officials.
Recent videos on the Penguins' website have showcased everyone from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, to coach Dan Bylsma, to players Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Craig Adams offering support for Malkin.
Malkin has his share of supporters pushing him to claim the honor.
“I'm proud to say he's made a huge impact on the team and on our community,” Penguins fan Morgan Dehner said.
Even the most famous of Penguins' fans — the “Knitting Lady” — is getting behind the Malkin push.
“He's finally come into his own,” Michelle Miller said. “Being on the cover of NHL 2013 would only be a small step to show how far he's come.”
Penguins fans pushed Malkin past Philadelphia winger Scott Hartnell in the quarterfinals.
“Our fans make you shake your head with amazement,” McMillan said.
Malkin led the NHL with 109 points and scored a career-high 50 goals, despite having surgery to repair a torn ACL in February 2011.
After producing eight points in a six-game series loss to the Flyers, Malkin had 19 points to lead Russia to the World Championship gold medal.
“He dazzles us,” Penguins fan Nicole Tracey said. “There's no doubt he deserves to be the cover boy.”