Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: kris letang
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Let’s start with this: For our money, Sidney Crosby is still one of the top two or three best hockey players, if not the best player on the planet. That is a given. And it will not shock us at all that if Crosby wins another scoring title playing with Phil Kessel.
But if the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team strangely adrift since back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, are going to get back to relevance -- never mind seriously contending for a championship -- then the key is the blue line. And the blue line begins and ends right now with Kris Letang.
For most of last season, Letang and the now departed Paul Martin were the top pairing on a defense that for most of the season was a top six or seven team in goals allowed per game. A late-season swoon that coincided with injuries to their top defensemen saw the Pens finish 10th in goals allowed per game. All in all, not too shabby. Still, the Penguins were ousted in five games in the first round by the New York Rangers, losing all four games by a 2-1 count.
TSN's Travis Yost examines the "$6 million AAV club" of defensemen's respective impacts upon their employers, and he comes to the following conclusion(s):
1. It’s difficult to really find a beef with Erik Karlsson winning last season’s Norris Trophy. His team was significantly better by all three metrics with him on the ice (each comfortably clearing our above-referenced averages for the $6-million AAV Club). What’s interesting, though, is just how similar two defencemen – Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, and Florida’s Brian Campbell – look here. Letang was having an absolutely monstrous season for the Penguins and had the raw point totals that voters love before his season was cut short due to injury. Say what you will about his sometimes-wild, sometimes over-tempo style of play – it clearly has a beneficial impact on Pittsburgh, much like Karlsson has for Ottawa. As for Brian Campbell, I recall a time when the general consensus about his contract was “it’s a disaster, and he’s borderline untradeable”. He’s been a machine for a few years now, though it's fair to wonder if his age – he turned 36 last May – is going to start having a depreciable impact.
via Sam Kasan of the Penguins' website,
Head coach Mike Johnston had a few updates on the game...
- Johnston confirmed that defenseman Kris Letang has a concussion. He's been released from the hospital, but will not be in the lineup tonight.
- Johnston said the team will go with five defensemen for the game and, if need be, Winnik could drop back to defense if needed.
- Perron is doubtful for the game and "probably out" per Johnston. He missed Saturday's 3-2 win against Arizona with an illness.
Below, watch the hit on Letang who tumbled into the end boards...
No penalty on the play...
Kris Letang just can’t catch a break this season after a big check from Shane Doan caused the Penguins defender to fall awkwardly tail-bone first into the boards.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
... early in the third period, he found another way to add to the rivalry between the two Metropolitan Division teams: by taking a two-handed swing – either at Pens star defenseman Kris Letang’s ankle, or at the puck, depending on your perspective – that has led to strong feelings among both fan bases.
Letang had to leave the game for a brief stretch, when, during a chase for a loose puck, Ovechkin’s slash crumpled him and sent him smashing into the end boards.
From the perspective of many Capitals fans, Ovechkin was merely swinging his stick in desperation at the puck, and there was no penalty called on the play. From the point of view of irate Pens fans, the slash made direct contact with Letang’s ankle, and that’s all that counts.
Watch the play below...
As Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien notes, this Tweet yielded more than its share of concern and panic for Penguins fans...
But the Penguins clarified the situation:
Letang has not returned for the 2nd period.
added 8:08pm, Letang is back on the bench.
"It makes me really happy to have a coach who focuses on the time of possession of the puck."
-Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. More from Letang in a translated TVA Sports story...
I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:
“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.
Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.
“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”
Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, george+mcphee, julien+brisebois, ken+holland, kris+letang, marian+hossa, mike+babcock, montreal+candiens, perry+pearn, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, washington+capitals
Well this took five minutes...Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi, the Penguins may or may not clear the coaching and managerial decks after yet another playoff failure:
Penguins ownership will consider a sweeping overhaul that could include terminating general manager Ray Shero in addition to Dan Bylsma and the members of the coaching staff, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review. Ownership specifically is concerned about a perceived lack of accountability for players, overall team toughness and unproductive drafts, the sources said.
The sources also said Penguins ownership might not want to undergo a complete front-office shakeup with only about a month before the NHL Entry Draft.
No decisions have been made, and they will not be rushed, the sources said.
from Sam Kasan of PittsburghPenguins.com,
“I was on the ice today because I want to return,” Letang said. “I’ll be able to play again. I don’t know when.”
Head coach Dan Bylsma reiterated Letang’s status as being undetermined.
“It’s not like Paul Martin, who has an injury, a surgery and a date where he’s working back to get in the game. There’s no date to be determined for Kris,” Bylsma said. “Right now he’s back in a full practice. That’s a good thing.”
Despite the severity of his situation, Letang has no apprehension about returning to the ice.
“Even the day I had the stroke I asked the doctor when I would be able to play again,” Letang said. “It never crossed my mind that I could have a stroke at 26. It could (happen again) because it happened once. Who knows? I’m not going to worry about that.”
more and watch below, Letang talks with the media after practice....
via Dave Molinari tweets,
Bylsma says Letang "still has some other things to go through," but doesn't elaborate.
Bylsma says there is no target date for Letang to resume playing.
added 3:55pm, from Sam Kasan of the Penguins' website.
Letang, 26, suffered a stroke on Jan. 29 and has been out of the lineup since. He was on blood thinners for six weeks as part of his recovery period. Sunday marked the final day of that six-week period.
“We had an idea that at this point in time he could possibly be cleared to practice,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He still has some other things to go through. He’s been working out, skating on his own and doing quite a bit on his own.
“To see Kris return to practice tomorrow will be a good thing for Kris, good thing for us.”
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, still unsure if he will play hockey again this season, shed light on the details of his stroke.
It was a scary time.
On the morning of Jan. 29, Letang's wife woke up to find him laying on the floor of the couple's bedroom. He was alert but knew something was wrong.
“I was not able to function,” he said.
Letang's mother-in-law is a nurse and was at their home at the time of his stroke, which stopped him from calling 911. He felt better enough later in the day to fly with the Penguins to Los Angeles.
But after a series of tests, it was determined that Letang had a stroke. He said he is still having “good days and bad days” and is still dealing with fatigue.
added 1:24pm, Watch below as Letand discusses his health and playing hockey again.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will miss at least six weeks after having a stroke last week, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manger Ray Shero.
The condition is treatable with blood thinners and at this point is not believed to be career threatening.
Further testing also revealed that Letang, 26, has had a very small hole in the wall of his heart since birth. This small defect in the wall is present in all individuals before birth but seals shut in most people. It is possible that the hole in the heart led to the stroke.
“Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week,” Shero said. “We held him out of the Los Angeles game Thursday night, and when he continued to feel ill, tests conducted in Phoenix on Saturday gave us the first indication of his condition. Further testing then was conducted when he returned to Pittsburgh, and he continued to undergo a battery of tests here this week.”
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi, the Penguins do not plan on trading defenseman Kris Letang prior the trade deadline, though he has an 8-year contract exension kicking in this summer (with his cap hit doubling from $3.5 million to $7.25 million, per Capgeek), because, well...Letang is ill:
Kris Letang's mystery illness is not believed life threatening, but the Penguins are not sure when he will play again this season, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review.
The team planned to update Letang's condition Friday.
There were concerns last week that Letang's season — if not his career — could be in jeopardy because of the illness, the sources said.
Letang, a defenseman, has not taken the ice since Jan. 30, when he practiced but did not play at Los Angeles. He will not play against the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center on Friday — the Penguins' final game before the NHL's Olympic break.
“There will be no update on Kris Letang until we have further update on his condition,” coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday.
Rossi continues at length, and this quip is important to fans of all 30 teams:
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
He's a great kid. Occasionally a great defenseman, too.
And that's precisely why it's time to trade him.
Or at least think a whole heck of a lot about it.
To repeat, this isn't negative. It's not about Letang's maddening tendencies, his misfires or giveaways. It's certainly not about any one game — and Letang was quite good, for the record, in the 5-1 flogging of the Canadiens, including a sweet assist on a Sidney Crosby goal — nor is it about his injury-plagued season, nor even his star-crossed career.
Rather, it's quite the opposite. It's that Letang remains so valuable that he can get you a mint. And if that mint happens to involve pieces that work better with the Penguins' broader puzzle, all the more reason a trade merits robust consideration.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Kris Letang on an eight-year, $58 million contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal begins with the 2014-15 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and has an average annual value of $7.25 million.
Kris Letang will have UFA status July 2014.
from Craig Custance of ESPN (paid subscription),
As of Thursday afternoon, Letang's camp hadn't heard from Shero but anticipated that negotiations would get serious within the next week.
In his comments to the media on Thursday, Shero made it clear that his priority is to sign Letang, but he didn't completely rule out a trade. It's going to come down to negotiations and how much of a discount Letang is willing to provide Pittsburgh to stay with that group. If he hits the market, his ticket would be huge.
As a free agent, the starting point would be $7-8 million per season at max length. To stay in Pittsburgh, it may have to be an eight-year deal closer to $6.5 million. Letang understands that the best deal will come on the open market; it's just finding out how big the difference is going to be. Those are conversations the two sides still need to have. And executives around the league will be watching closely.
The feeling from those I spoke with on Thursday is that Letang will sign an extension with Pittsburgh. It's a similar situation to Staal in that the best move would be to trade him if there's not a deal to be struck, but it's different in that the Penguins don't have two other world-class defensemen already on the roster the way they did at center last year.
"He's just entering the prime of his career," one Western Conference executive said of Letang. "He's an impact defenseman who generates offense, plays on your power play and is a competitive guy. They're going to try to get something done. These are hard players to find."
from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,
Hockey players have been taught for decades upon decades that in defensive situations, it’s more effective to play the man and not the puck, and the rules are written to reflect that, including ones that permit players to be bodychecked even after they have gotten rid of the puck. The whole notion of finishing a check is predicated on that being allowable under the rules.
And because the NHL believes body contact is one of the most highly appealing aspects of the game for its fans, it is loath to curtail it. Every step of the campaign against hits that cause concussions has been met with resistance from those who claim that prohibiting certain sorts of hits will take all of them out of the game, turning it into less appealing non-contact sport. They have been proven wrong, of course, as the game has certainly survived Rule 48, both in its first very limited incarnation of banning blindside and lateral hits to the head and with this year’s more restrictive “targeting” standard.
The Nystrom hit on Letang is perhaps the next frontier of where Rule 48 might go. It’s not going to be as easy to figure this one out, and proponents of the zero-tolerance standard are likely to claim that the rules in use in some junior leagues (both in Canada and the US), the IIHF, and the NCAA are the logical next step. Perhaps they are right.
Ref called two minutes for roughing on Eric Nystrom of the Dallas Stars.
Penguins announced Letang is out with an upper-body injury.
via Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Penguins general manager Ray Shero said today that defenseman Kris Letang not only will join the team Tuesday for a game-day skate but also is medically cleared for contact and games after recovering from a concussion.
Letang will not play Tuesday night when the Penguins face Carolina at Consol Energy Center, but it could be soon.
Letang has been out since he got leveled by Montreal’s Max Pacioretty in a Nov. 26 game. Letang, who also got a broken nose, returned to score the winning goal in overtime that night before his concussion was diagnosed.
via Sam Kasan of Penguins Report at the Penguins website,
Kris Letang suffered the hit to the head (in Montreal), a facial injury. He has felt fine for a couple days and skated with us after being evaluated a couple different ways on Monday. He skated with us, felt fine. Started to get some symptoms in New York. He also has a virus and some sickness. So there’s some other things going on there with Kris that he’s not even to the point where he can take a baseline test right now because he’s ill. He is suffering from a virus as well.
On Letang’s illness presenting symptoms that could be comparable to a concussion:
Yes. In addition to the injury to the head, the shot to the head that produced a broken nose, flying (on the plane to New York produced) some of that swelling.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
...Pacioretty says he’s been left confused by several assertions made by Shanahan, who he said compared the incident to the Pens’ Matt Cooke’s infamous blindside hit on Boston centre Marc Savard.
“I think that couldn’t be any further from the truth. If you looked at the situation, me and Letang made eye contact, and I think that’s what gave me the green light to try and hit him. I felt he put himself in a vulnerable position, maybe I shouldn’t have even thought about hitting him because of the way the wind is blowing right with head shots, but I’d like to see a little bit of consistency,” he said Tuesday. “If the onus is on the hitter every single time I’d be fine with a suspension, but you ‘ve seen instances where they’ve placed the onus on the person receiving the hit as well so I’m confused and a lot of other players are confused right now.”
via Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Penguins defensemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek will be returning to Pittsburgh for further evaluation of medical issues.
That means defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Alexandre Picard, both of whom were recalled from Wilkes-Barre this afternoon, figure to be in the Penguins’ lineup against the New York Rangers tonight.
Letang has a broken nose and might be suffering other problems after taking a blindside hit in the face from Montreal’s Max Pacioretty Saturday.
There is no word on the nature of Michalek’s problem, although he recently missed 10 games because of a broken finger and did leave the Montreal game early.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
By allowing Letang to return for the overtime, what the Penguins were telling us was that the miniscule minutes an intermission lasts were enough to probe into a player’s brain and determine beyond question that no damage had been done.
Are you kidding me?
Why, after their experience with Crosby would they even think of allowing Letang to return to the ice? What was the upside to it? Did they feel they truly needed him on the ice in the overtime, or that without him they ran the risk of losing the game either in overtime or during The Gimmick?
Did they think the extra point was so important to a team which had been winning consistently without Crosby would be unable to do the same without Letang?
What I’m really saying is that the organization’s decision was even more reckless than the Pacioretty hit … that somebody up there has a thought process badly twisted out of shape.
via Bob McKenzie tweet,
NHL announces PIT’s Kris Letang will have disciplinary hearing today for boarding WPG’s Alex Burmistrov last night.
added 11:54am, video added below…
The Bolts Beat, 10/19/10: Lightning on the Road and a Look Ahead, Plus NHL Officiating Issues & More
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, the boys discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first road swing of the season and preview the week ahead for the Bolts, Jon’s “What the Hell Was That?” segment brings up an interesting debate on replay, major penalties and the like, Mike defends referees (a sure sign of the apocalypse) and much more.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, andrei+kostitsyn, blake+comeau, brad+richards, brett+clark, dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, guy+boucher, headshots, instant+replay, josh+bailey, kris+letang, martin+st.+louis, mattias+ritola, michael+vernace, mike+smith, nate+thompson, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, t.j.+brodie, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
Kris Letang received a five minutes for an illegal check to the head, a ten and game misconduct.
Then in the post-game, Kris Letang asked what happened and he states “go ask Hartnell”.
Watch that video below…
Alyonka Larionov and Mr. Malkin try their hands at some Russian cuisine and Kris Letang does the food testing.
Q. There’s been a lot of attention in terms of the Red Wings, maybe their top 5-man unit, particularly with the defense, people focus on Lidstrom. But can you talk about what Brian Rafalski means. He played with a tremendous Hall-of-Famer in New Jersey, and just kind of gets the short shift of attention in Detroit.
SIDNEY CROSBY: He’s a good puck moving defenseman. He skates well. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he’s smart and plays his position well. So I think he probably makes up with his size with how well he plays his position, and probably helps anybody he plays with to be that much more solid.
Q. This is a time to kind of celebrate the game, but there’s some sad news yesterday with Luc Bourdon. I know you new him a little from Atlantic Canada Midget Hockey, can you talk about how you’re getting set to play the biggest game of your career and there’s some sad news like that?