Malkin suffers upper body injury in NHL debut

MONCTON, New Brunswick -- Evgeni Malkin was injured during
his first NHL preseason game Wednesday night when he collided with
Pittsburgh teammate John LeClair early in the second period of the
Penguins' 5-4 win over Philadelphia.

Malkin was not available for comment after the game, but was
seen leaving the Moncton Coliseum on his own without a sling. The
team said the 20-year-old Russian rookie center was taken to a
hospital for further evaluation of an upper-body injury.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero said Malkin will be
re-evaluated Thursday in Pittsburgh, but could not be more specific
about the injury.

"At this point anything else would be speculation," Shero
said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. Frankly, I was happy he
got up considering the way he went down."

Penguins veteran winger Mark Recchi also was sent to hospital
after he was hit with a high stick in the first period.

Malkin was injured after making a dazzling pass to LeClair. The
veteran winger, after missing a great scoring chance, crashed into
the boards behind the net and took out Malkin in the process. The
Russian catapulted over LeClair and landed hard on the ice. A hush
came over the crowd as Malkin, the No. 2 overall pick behind
Alexander Ovechkin in 2004, lay sprawled on the ice for 3-4

"Malkin made a great pass, but I caught an edge and lost my
balance," LeClair said. "It's disappointing to see a rising star
get hurt like that."

Malkin got up and skated off the ice, but was favoring his left

"It's never fun to see that happen, especially in his first
game," Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby said. "Hopefully, we'll get
him back soon. He looked good out there, even on the play he got
hurt. He looked real comfortable playing at this level."

Malkin had an assist on Sergei Gonchar's first-period goal and
also displayed a pair of sensational inside-out moves later in the
opening period.

Malkin was making his much-anticipated debut after his
controversial departure from Russia, a matter that remains in the
hands of lawyers on both sides of the ocean because he signed a
contract with Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk before also
signing a three-year deal with the Penguins.

Gonchar finished with two goals and Crosby, Ryan Malone and
Colby Armstrong also scored for Pittsburgh, 1-1 in preseason play.
Mike Richards scored twice and Jeff Carter and Mark Cullen added
goals for Philadelphia in the Flyers' preseason opener.

Jocelyn Thibault went all the way in goal for the Penguins,
making 23 saves.

Robert Esche went two periods in goal for the Flyers, giving up
three goals on 22 shots. Rookie Martin Houle then allowed two goals
on nine shots.