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Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: June 4, 2021 (Pt. 1)

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KDKA's Rich Walsh and 93.7 The Fan's Paul Zeise discuss the sports topics of the day.

Video Transcript

- Pittsburgh's best sports show is about to begin. Call us or tweet us, we've got things to talk about on the Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call powered by FanDuel Sports Book.

RICH WALSH: All right, thanks a lot Royce. Thank you for tuning in to the Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports call powered by FanDuel Sports Book. I'm Rich Walsh, I'll be joined by Paul Zeise in just a matter of moments. So give us a call, 412-575-2600. We have a lot to talk about, including Evgeni Malkin, that's probably the big story of the day. He had knee surgery. And maybe the worst part of this news, as I just mentioned, he won't be available for Penguin's training camp which is in September, months away from now. And they don't have a timetable for when he will be ready.

This happened on March 16th, a collision in a Bruins game. He missed the final six weeks, basically outside of four games at the end of the year and then missed the first two games of the postseason. He was on fire right before he got hurt too, Paul. So this is disturbing to me not because we knew he had some kind of injury, knew something with his knee, we didn't know it'd need or require surgery. But the fact is they don't know when he's coming back. He's not going to be around for training camp. So does that mean he'll be ready for the start of the season in October?

PAUL ZEISE: I would assume probably not. But I mean, I don't think it really matters. I mean, again, next year if they're going to come back with Malkin and Letang and Crosby and Sullivan, which it sounds like they are, the only thing that matters is the playoffs. So as long as he's back by next May or whatever, who cares what happens in October and November.

RICH WALSH: Yeah, it's if they make the playoffs, Paul though. And the fact is they haven't done much in the playoffs since 2017. That's why I think this team needs not a complete overhaul, but I mean maybe trading one of these core guys. Not Crosby, I don't want to trade Crosby, but trading these guys who were on the tail end of their career, maybe on the down side of it, and maybe getting something for them.

I know it'd be tough to get anything from Malkin right now, especially because of knee surgery and he has a no trade clause. So you might not get much for that. But maybe Letang has some value right now. And there's some other guys, I think they need almost like a halfway overhaul of this team. You can't go into next season with the same exact team and expect to do better in the playoffs. That's my opinion.

PAUL ZEISE: Well I mean, I think the thing about it is they made their decision. The decision is they're coming back with these guys. And so if they're going to come back with these guys it means they're trying to win a Stanley Cup next year. And it means that basically they are playing for whatever happens in the playoffs. I mean you would presume that they are good enough that they will be one of the top four teams and they'll be able to make the playoffs.

But as far as Malkin is concerned, if he's not back till say January, it doesn't matter because we've seen time and time again with this team that they have stretches of the season where they don't play well and then they have stretches where they play really well. And they usually make the playoffs. It's not making the playoffs that matters, it's what you do when you get there. And as long as Malkin is healthy by say next May when the playoffs start, it doesn't really move me one way or another if he doesn't get to start the season and say he doesn't get back mid December or early January.

RICH WALSH: Yeah, I mean, I agree with you. I mean he doesn't necessarily have to be back until January. But I just thought it was concerning that they don't even know, they don't even have a time frame. And then he's not going to be ready for training camp. All right.