Paging Mrs. Malkin’s Jeans of Hockey Magic

I know I don’t write about the Penguins very much, and usually, unless something really noteworthy or meaningful or hilarious happens or is said (I make many goal), I tend not to really pick up writing about them until playoff hockey nears.

This is because there are SO MANY hockey games during the season, that writing about every one of them would turn this into the Pensblog and no one can ever hope to compete with the Pensblog when it comes to Pittsburgh hockey.  Those guys are the kings and I am their lowly wench.

I promise you that just because I am not writing regularly about the Pens, I am watching the hockey games.  In fact, I watched the recent replay of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, just so I could mock Marian Hossa some more.

I do however want to point out this column the P-G’s Ron Cook wrote today, calling out Evgeni Malkin for “sulking” about his recent slump:

It’s hard to say what is more troubling as the scuffling Penguins fight to get their season back on track — Evgeni Malkin’s lengthy goal-scoring slump or the lame way he appears to be dealing with it.

I’m thinking lame all the way.


Ron Cook goes on to detail how Malkin should buck up and plow through his slump rather than letting it affect his game any more than it already has.

Nothing wrong there.

But then, Ron Cook goes … [gulp] … THERE!

Malkin should be beyond that. He is no kid. He’s 23. This is his fourth NHL season. He is a scoring champion, a Stanley Cup champion and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoffs MVP. He shouldn’t still need Gonchar to hold his hand through the tough times. It’s enough to make you wonder what will happen to him if the Penguins don’t do a new contract with Gonchar and allow him to leave as a free agent after the season.

Can you say Jaromir Jagr?

Oh. No. He di’int.

There’s more.

You know the sad ending to the Jagr era with the Penguins. An extraordinary player, he was so moody and sulked so much that he talked of “dying alive” late in his time here. He asked to be traded more than once before former general manager Craig Patrick finally granted his wish before the 2001-02 season.

I’m not ready to suggest that Malkin is going to be another Jagr…

Me English not so good, but, did you not just suggest that very thing by typing Jaromir Jagr’s name in the column, Ron?

Yes, Ron.  Yes, you did in fact just suggest it.

Let’s ask Webster, though, just to be sure:

sug·gest (sg-jst, s-jst)tr.v.

To make evident indirectly; intimate or imply”

Yep, circle gets the square.

Sure, Geno’s slumping. Like a drunk against the jukebox.  (Aside:  I don’t get to go out to clubs or bars much anymore.  They DO still have jukeboxes, don’t they? GET OFF MY LAWN.)

Sure, he’s only scored three goals in twelve games.

Sure, he’s having a hard time dealing with it.

It happens. He’s only 23. And thus far, at least publicly, he’s saying all the right things about it.  He’s not making excuses and he admits he needs to figure out how to fix what’s wrong.

But this slump, and his issues in dealing with this slump do not erase his contributions to the team, and they do not erase the fact that he loves Pittsburgh, and they do not erase the fact that he has more hockey talent in his left dimple than most NHL players have in their entire bodies. And this slump or his behavior during it should in no way earn him a public comparison to Jaromir I’m dying alive Jagr.

Geno is a genius on hockey skates, and I can pretty much guaran-effin-tee it that when he pulls out of this slump, and he will, he’s going to do it with so much KABLOOEY! that Ron Cook is going to rue the day he ever put Evgeni Malkin and Jaromir Jagr’s names in the same paragraph.

Dear Evgeni, we still love you.  Please, let tonight be the night you figure your shit out so that the next time you see Ron Cook you can be all, “Бооуач, Бтсч!”


  1. Jagoff
    January 11, 2010 4:04 pm

    Yes, they do still have jukeboxes, but they no longer play records.

  2. Jen
    January 11, 2010 4:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I was a bit pissed this moring reading Ron Cook’s comparision of Geno to Jagr…totally unwarranted! A direct quote from an article in the Post on 1/4:
    “Bylsma wasn’t coaching the Penguins when Malkin went 10 games without a goal last season at around this time, Dec. 22-Jan. 8. He still finished with 35 goals, 113 points to lead the league.”

    We all know the type of player Geno is, what he is capable of and he WILL bounce back! GO PENS!

    Read more:

  3. Pensgirl
    January 11, 2010 4:19 pm

    I saw the headline of that article and didn’t even read it because I knew it would be stupid.

    I always saw Jagr as somewhat of an “artiste.” I didn’t care, and never booed him after he left, and never even got upset while he was here, because 1) the moodiness stemmed from him caring too much, which is forgivable (especially compared to caring too little), and 2) he played his best hockey when shit was on the line (see, e.g., the 1999 playoffs, or his third-period and OT point stats).

    That said, Malkin is NOTHING like Jagr. Jagr’s tendency to emotionally dwell exacerbated slumps he went through. He let himself get emotionally turned around by his play, and he’d get in these deep funks where you could practically see the dark cloud following him. Geno doesn’t have any of that. When he’s slumping he does tend to do too much on the ice and get in his own way, but that is so not the same thing as carrying your slump with you everywhere you go.

    Personally, I’d been waiting for Geno to run out of gas a bit because the two short offseasons in a row prevented him from doing much of anything to add size to his frame and beef up his conditioning. If his game is suffering right now because of that, it’s to be expected. I don’t know anyone who would trade that for our Stanley Cup win. I sure as hell wouldn’t.

  4. Beatrice
    January 11, 2010 4:20 pm

    I’m also glad you posted this. After reading Ron Cook’s article this morning, I realized my face had contorted into this perplexed expression…I understand that Malkin is in a slump, but I’m not on the same page as Ron Cook on this one.

    Looking forward to watching Geno and the rest of the boys tonight!

  5. CrashJK
    January 11, 2010 4:25 pm

    Ron Cook deserves a full body check from Free Candy for the shit that he wrote about Geno…wtf ? Doesn’t Ron need to write, dream, write & dream over those precious Stillers 24/7 ? Ron, leave hockey alone…we NHL fans don’t need the likes of him sticking his Rooney Browned nose into hockey. And Ginny…glad you acknowledged the Lords of Hockey at the pensblog…

    Charlie says DO IT !

  6. toni
    January 11, 2010 4:34 pm

    First Cook defends Arians and now this….I’m thinking he needs a vacation to get his sanity back in line.

  7. Jmat
    January 11, 2010 4:38 pm

    If Geno could accumulate more points than penalty minutes in a game for a change I’d be happy.

    I love that Cook went ‘there’! lolol.

  8. MN
    January 11, 2010 4:41 pm

    Throw the Post-Gazette in the garbage where it belongs and read the Trib’s sports section…at least those writers have brains!

  9. CrashJK
    January 11, 2010 4:45 pm

    Ginny, please link the Ron Cook photoshop contest winner’s pic on this blog later this week…it outta be a good one !

  10. bluzdude
    January 11, 2010 4:49 pm

    I laugh when Cooks holds up Geno’s being 23 as someone experienced. I don’t care if Geno is a 4-year vet… When I was 23, I couldn’t find my butt with both hands and a funnel. I didn’t know jack about anything, and am sure I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to face some kind of professional adversity under the watchful eye of the entire Penguins universe. (and learn to master English, while doing it.)

    It’s a slump. He’ll snap out of it. Until then, cut the kid some slack. He toted the Pens to a Cup last year… he’s earned the benefit of the doubt.

  11. Sooska
    January 11, 2010 4:52 pm

    Neither Cook (nor Collier as the 2 main sports columnists) write much about the Pens or hockey and they aren’t around the team much or at every game. Malkin is not Jags Redux. Not by any stretch. I agree with Pensgirl- Jagr was and is an artiste. Malkin is an artist, but more of a slam poet (or a flash-mobber.)

    I ask Ron Cook this: What were doing at age 23 years? How many Pulitizer Prizes had you won by that age, HMMM? Zero? yeah. I thought so.

  12. CrashJK
    January 11, 2010 4:52 pm

    Here…Vote Geno as DapperDan Sports Man of the Year, then let Cook stand there with his, well…@

    Go Pens

  13. Suz
    January 11, 2010 5:08 pm

    After all of his years as a FOOTBALL sportswriter, Ron Cook has yet to show me his understanding of the game of hockey. Have him join up with current long road trip through western Canada. Perhaps a grueling five game stretch where he spends time around the players and attends daily practices might give him the tiniest bit of insight. There is nothing that Geno and Jagr have in common beyond being outstanding goal scorers who wear and have worn the black and gold. Now, I will take CrashJK’s suggestion to go over and vote for Geno as Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year.

  14. butcher's dog
    January 11, 2010 5:54 pm

    Staff at Pensblog and myriad commenters are all pretty much in agreement that Cook is full of shit. Count me in that number. And Ron….? If you’re going to try to be all “here’s the truth whether we like it or not”, then I suggest you begin with an updated photo for your column in the paper and on the web site. Malkin may not even have been 3, let alone 23, when you last looked like that. Gotta quit goin’ on the CW if you want us to believe otherwise.

    I was kinda glad, though, because after Gene Collier guar-an-damn-teed us last year that the Pens wouldn’t make the playoffs, let’s try to remember what happened. Ginny called Dulac Mr. Opposite because every prediction he made went the other way. Let’s just throw Collier and Cook into the same pot and boil ’em all down.

    And just generally, Cook is so general that I suspect he may really have been UPMSee (reference posts from this past fall). They both come across as knowing bastards. Probably both feed and encourage pigeons.

  15. butcher's dog
    January 11, 2010 5:55 pm

    Last paragraph I meant “Cook is so negative”, not “so general”. See what happens when I type pissed?!

  16. Lauren
    January 11, 2010 5:57 pm

    Olympics are in February. Whether he wants to admit it or not, I think the prospect of playing for his country may sneak into Malkin’s psyche. He’s trying hard, so that takes him out of the Jagr category, but I’m going to get upset with him if this continues after the Olympic break.

  17. mfj
    January 11, 2010 6:22 pm

    I quit reading Ron Cook a few years ago because he writes with the attention span of a drunk 8-month-old. If Geno does well tonight, the next column will be wondering if it’s too early to talk Hall of Fame.

  18. hugh.c.mcbride
    January 11, 2010 7:35 pm

    And the award for Greatest Use of Cyrillic Trash Talk in The History of the Interwebs goes to … :-)

  19. unsatisfied
    January 11, 2010 7:40 pm

    meh, that’s what these writers like cook and smizik do. why anyone gives what they write any weight is beyond me.

  20. Larry
    January 11, 2010 8:42 pm

    well, pseudo-Cyrillic trash talk. It should’ve been:

    Бу-Я, Бич!!!

    (One of the cool things about the ‘burgh is… we *know* things like that!!!)

  21. spoon
    January 11, 2010 9:46 pm

    The sad thing is that Ron believes his own shit. He should be deemed the next batshit crazy pittsburgher because no one with any shred of logical thought could come up with the spew from that man’s mind.

  22. jennviolet
    January 11, 2010 9:54 pm

    Awesome, awesome, AWESOME headline. We’ve been thinking the same thing.

  23. bucdaddy
    January 12, 2010 12:20 am

    From the perspective of a Pirates fan (i.e. loser) who hasn’t gotten his panties in a bunch about a losing streak or a slump in 17 years, I’m always amused to hear and see Penguins fans having threat-level red panic attacks in effing JANUARY! And EARLY January at that.

    Get a grip, people.

    Ginny, you are absolutely right, there are “SO MANY hockey games during the regular season” (82 to be exact, it only seems like 463) that getting all in a twist about losing five of them in January would be like Steelers fans taking cyanide when they lose a game in September.

    Oh, wait …

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  25. Big John
    January 12, 2010 8:25 am


    Since when is 23 not considered young?
    Ron should be embarrassed for this piece of shit article that disguises itself as journalism.

    I don’t have to see the number to know who Malkin is….he is the one flying around the ice giving his best.

    Hockey is a long season, releax Ron….Geno will represent us well.

  26. Cassie
    January 12, 2010 9:32 am

    Why is it that a guy gets into a slump and then they start talking about how they should trade him or make him a free agent? Talk about being a fair weather fan. What about Talbot? They’re not talking about him. He hasn’t been playing too hot either. Not to mention our power play sucks. The season is still fresh, and Malkin will come out of his slump.

  27. TripleC
    January 12, 2010 9:52 am

    Cook should stick with writing about something he understands. Whatever that might be. Him writing about hockey is the equivalent of me writing about Japanese architecture during the Muromachi period. No idea what I would be talking about and readers of my drivel would be left scratching their heads – hey, I just summed up Cook’s ramblings.

    The older sports journalists in the city (Cook, Smizik) can’t go away soon enough. Cranky bitchy pissy old men.

  28. bucdaddy
    January 12, 2010 10:32 am

    TripleC, They’re union guys (granted, it’s not a strong union), so expect them (and Collier) to be there until they ask to be put out of work.

    But yeah, you make a point. I hadn’t thought much about until just this second but their columnist lineup skews really old. There’s something to be said for writing from the standpoint of having a wealth of experience, not so much for writing from the perspective of cranky bitchy pissy old man-ism.

    Sez this cranky bitchy pissy old man.

  29. mary
    January 12, 2010 10:37 am

    Cook just ran out ideas for a column and started grasping at straws. Do writers have slumps? Not our Pitt Girl! :-)

  30. Carpetbagger
    January 12, 2010 12:21 pm

    Just so long as there are no Matt Capps comparisons.

  31. efw_west
    January 12, 2010 12:35 pm

    Ron Cook is a miserable person. I think he has a hard time coming to grips that his Northwestern degree has not led him to fame, fortune, or a pullizter prize for his writing skills. His columns during the Steeler’s slump were truely pathetic.

  32. Joe K.
    January 12, 2010 12:37 pm

    It’s a long season, Malkin will be fine. I watched last night’s game and saw no lack of effort by any Pens players.

    I always thought some people’s reaction to Jagr’s “dying alive” comment was way overblown. It was just some melodrama.

    And lets face it, the Pens don’t have great wingers, so that impacts Malkin as well. They have good, but not great wingers. I have no idea if it’s possible, but I wonder if there’s a way to sign Jagr post-Olympics and for the post-season. Even at age 37 he’d look great skating on Malkin’s right wing.

  33. chrys
    January 12, 2010 12:39 pm

    Ron Cook is a massive idiot. He is such a blow-hard when he is on KDKA on Sunday nights. I swear he writes and says shit to piss off Pgh.. He thinks he’s being “edgy”.. It’s time to get some writers who know what the hell they are talking about! Ron Cook (and more than a few others) need to go. :P

  34. NAM
    January 12, 2010 3:33 pm

    Thank you, I couldn’t agree more!

  35. butcher's dog
    January 12, 2010 4:32 pm

    Yinz say cranky bitchy pissy old man like it’s a bad thing!

  36. Jen
    January 12, 2010 4:49 pm

    i was so heated over this yesterday i didn’t even notice the creepy kid next to malkin the pic…pretty damn weird, wtf is he doing and who’s hand is in his mouth?

  37. Mayor Luke Doggy Dogg
    January 12, 2010 5:03 pm

    Geno Machino misses Alyonka.

    Coincidence she’s leaving the Pens and Pittsburgh?

  38. malbrec92
    January 12, 2010 5:54 pm

    Ditto hugh.c.mcbride and Larry. Love it!

  39. Meck
    January 12, 2010 10:09 pm

    Larry you are right. But if you use the Russian word for bitch you get a nice little rhyme-y rhyme Бу-Я сука!

  40. American Girl
    January 12, 2010 10:12 pm

    I voted for Geno. I also voted for Sam Ashaolu graduating as the best sports story. Yes, I know, Steeler Super Bowl and Pens Stanley Cup! But, so many college athletes leave before getting degrees and here’s a guy who had every reason to quit, but didn’t. Winning is the point for any team, but stories like this are what make great movies (Blind Side, Invictus), the exception being “Miracle on Ice”, I guess.

  41. Tim
    January 13, 2010 7:16 am

    Wow, pensgirl you are every male Penguin fans fantasy….
    …. a female who can hold a legit hockey conversation! I have a few friends who would like to meet you. And, Ron Cook is an ass! Jagr, PLEASE.

  42. Don
    January 14, 2010 6:09 am

    This explains why Geno is in such a slump. He’s exhausted from all the posters here blowing him.

    It’s his fourth year. He’s played in the Stanley Cup Finals the last two years. He’s been the playoff MVP. He’s being paid $8 million. So the “he’s only 23” stuff doesn’t fly. This is a league dominated by players in that age bracket.

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