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Malkin Suspended Four Games for Cross-Check to Head

The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin four games for cross-checking Nashville Predators defender Mark Borowiecki in the head.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without one of their star players for a good chunk of the season's final stretch run. 

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Monday evening that they have suspended forward Evgeni Malkin for four games for a cross-check to the head of defenseman Mark Borwiecki at the end of the second period of Sunday's contest between the Penguins and Nashville Predators. 

The incident occurred after the final horn blew on the period, with Borwiecki swiping Malkin's back with his glove, and Malkin retaliating by first slashing him in the leg and then delivering a forceful cross-check to Borowiecki's face. 

Borowiecki was forced to leave the game after the play, while Malkin was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking. 

This is not an insignificant loss for the Penguins by any means. 

Malkin will now be sidelined for half of the team's remaining games, with the Penguins holding onto the third divisional playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division by only four points, and the Washington Capitals nipping at their heels. 

This is just the second time in Malkin's career that he's earned a suspension from the league's player safety department. Malkin's only other suspension was a high-sticking infraction as well, and came in 2019 when the veteran forward was handed a one-game ban for assaulting Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Rafl. 

Despite being suspended only once and fined three times during his 977-game career, a four-game penalty is relatively harsh compared to the Department of Safety's disciplinary track record, and hopefully signifies a league-wide crackdown on hits to the head. 

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