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Hockey

Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin is injured, out of All-Star Game on Sunday

Evgeni Malkin

Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin will miss the NHL All-Star Game because of injury.

(Paul Sancya / AP)

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin, who ranked third in the NHL scoring race through Tuesday’s games with 22 goals and 54 points, will miss Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center because of what Coach Mike Sullivan described as a lower-body injury.

Malkin had been chosen to join Pittsburgh teammate Sidney Crosby on the 11-player Metropolitan division team for Sunday’s game, which will be played as a mini-tournament involving teams representing each of the league’s four divisions. The NHL did not immediately name a replacement.

Sullivan also said Wednesday that Malkin will miss the Penguins’ game against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, their final game before the All-Star break.

Withdrawals from the All-Star Game had become so common that the NHL decreed if any player used an injury for an excuse to skip the event but didn’t miss any of his team’s games, that player would be suspended for one regular-season game. Because Malkin is expected to miss Thursday’s game, he will not be subject to that penalty.

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The league has invoked that rule in the past to suspend players, including superstars Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Toews, and Alexander Ovechkin.    

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

 

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