Well, so much for a quiet few days leading to the All-Star Break. The San Jose Sharks dropped a surprise announcement on Wednesday morning announcing that veteran center Tommy Wingels was traded to Ottawa for Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, both minor-league players, along with a seventh round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. Also announced by the Pittsburgh Penguins is that Penguins star Evgeni Malkin will be out of the All-Star Game due to a lower body injury.
The trade was done in part because Ottawa have a need for a forward after shutting down Clarke MacArthur for the remainder of the year. Doing this deal also allows a spot to open for Tomas Hertl to come back from a knee sprain he sustained that required surgery. The injury, and recovery from it, have kept him out of the last 31 games.
Evgeni Malkin sustained what Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Sullivan called a “lower-body injury.” Malkin suffered the injury in a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Sullivan also stated that Malkin will be re-evaluated after the break. Now, this presents an interesting situation. NHL rules state that players who pull out of the All-Star Game because of an injury are required to be scratched for their last game before the break, or their first game immediately after. Essentially, the rule is a de facto one-game suspension, which is served by the player being out to injury.
The penalty was instituted by the league recently to presumably ward off star players from feigning phantom injuries in order to skip the All-Star Game and its festivities. The rule itself has garnered annoyance by fans because if a selected player on their team gets injured, it penalizes the team for something beyond the team or player’s control. However, other fans like the rule because it creates a reason for players to attend so that they can make memories with fans of the NHL.
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