(Pittsburgh) Life is not just a long calm river. Kristopher Letang of the Penguins is emerging from a particularly difficult period.
In November, he suffered a stroke. It wasn’t his first. In 2014, he had to miss two months for the same problem, due to a birth defect. A few weeks later, he had the pain of losing his father, Claude Fouquet. After the funeral, the Quebec defender stayed away for almost a month, in particular to treat a lower body injury. Then in early March, Letang was shot in the face by Lightning’s Tanner Jeannot. This time, more fear than harm. Letang even returned to the game later in the game, to help his teammates in their quest for playoff qualification.
Since this series of misfortunes, things have changed. The Penguins have just won seven of their last nine games. They are fine. Letang is better too. He returned briefly, Tuesday morning, to his heart problems.
“It’s never really behind me,” he explained. It happened several times. We really have a plan, right now, that we are going to execute. It will make it so that I may have less stress, or ulterior motives of all that. But everything is stable. Everything is perfect. There is no problem. »
A few meters from him, in the Penguins locker room, his captain and friend Sidney Crosby was admiring. “It’s kind of hard to describe what [Kristopher] went through. Or how strong he was through the trials. As teammates, we try to support him as best we can. The whole team also traveled to Quebec in mid-January to attend the funeral of Letang’s father. “But in the end, he’s the one who has to deal with all of this.” We always knew he had a strong character. The past year has certainly been a challenge for him. It’s amazing how he handled it. »
At 35, Kristopher Letang remains the rock of the Penguins defense, with more than 23 minutes played each game and an elite offensive contribution, 15 points in 18 games since returning in January.
As the Canadiens players arrived at their hotel at 3 a.m., they had training off Tuesday morning… Tristan Jarry will be the Penguins’ starting goaltender… Ryan Poehling, with an upper body injury, is closing in on a comeback in the game, but he will not face the Canadian… Dmitry Kulikov will also be absent. The Russian defender is injured in the lower body, and will miss at least the next four weeks.