Thursday January 22nd, 2015

Is it too late to re-brand the festivities in Columbus as the Most Stars Game?

The midseason classic's lustre took another hit today with the news that a lower-body injury will keep Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin from participating.

Malkin, the NHL's fourth-leading scorer with 19 goals and 51 points in 45 games, had been dealing with the injury for a few weeks before missing Wednesday night's game against the Blackhawks.

That might not be the only action he misses.

Trade market soon to be fueled by Eastern Conference also-rans

"He won't be ready to play right after the break," Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told the Tribune-Review. "It's probably an injury that will take a little time to heal."

Rutherford offered no further information on the source of the injury, but said he'd have a better idea of when Malkin might be able to play again after the break.

No word yet on who might replace Malkin in Columbus, although Washington's Nicklas Backstrom, San Jose's Joe Pavelski and Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg have to be in the mix. Since the Red Wings are currently without a representative—Jimmy Howard pulled out earlier due to injury—Zetterberg is most likely to get the call.

No word either on the availability of Columbus' own Sergei Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets star suffered a lower-body injury in a 4-0 loss to Winnipeg on Wednesday.  If he can't go, look for Washington's Braden Holtby or Anaheim's Frederik Andersen to replace him.

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