Stolen photo frame the source of Malkin's frustration with team

 The Elbow staff

PITTSBURGH, PA – Following Saturday's 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Evgeni Malkin was quick to air frustrations about his teammates to the media.

He described them as not playing right, and being "mad at each other". Media outlets across the continent took the comments to mean the team's recent play on the ice was not up to par. However, an anonymous source in the Penguins' organization has indicated that this is not the case.

"Most people don't know this about Geno, but when the team is on the road, he likes to put a framed picture of he and his mother on his bedside table," the source said. "It was taken after the boys won the cup in 2009."

"On the team's recent three-game road trip to western Canada, the picture was stolen from his hotel room and has not been returned."

"Geno is understandably upset, and felt that whichever teammate was responsible should play nice and give it back."

When questioned by The Elbow, Malkin chose not to elaborate on the accusations, simply saying that his teammates were not playing right.

Penguins colour commentator Bob Errey recalled a similar situation that occurred in the early 2000s.

"I remember back in December of 2003, the team was on a swing across western Canada – Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver after losing the Flyers in Philadelphia. It was a tough road trip. Four straight losses," Errey recalls.

"By the end of it, the boys were desperate for something to lift their spirits. A young Konstantin Koltsov was playing for the Pens at the time, and he had a teddy bear that he took everywhere. Most of the guys knew about it."

"It was believed that Ryan Malone and Matt Bradley snuck into his hotel room one night and stole it from his bed. No-one ever knew for sure who took it, but the bear was never returned. Koltsov was devastated."

The anonymous Penguins source remembers that incident, and hopes that the story doesn't end the same way.

"Koltsov had shown some real glimpses of brilliance up to that point, but after the bear went missing, he checked out mentally."

The Penguins are hoping that the picture can be returned before any more damage is done.