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Pens’ Letang (lower body) to miss first two games of season

Oct 1, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT

Kris Letang AP

The Penguins have confirmed Kris Letang — currently sidelined with a lower-body injury — was not put on injured reserve retroactively, meaning he’ll be out at least and week and miss Pittsburgh’s first two games of the season against New Jersey and Buffalo.

Letang, 26, suffered the injury during practice last Friday and hasn’t been on the ice since. Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma said he doesn’t think the ailment will keep Letang out long-term, and noted the defenseman could be activated from IR as early as Oct. 8.

With the Letang move, Pittsburgh now opens the season with a blueline comprised of Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, Matt Niskanen, Deryk Engelland, Robert Bortuzzo, Olli Maatta and (temporarily) Harrison Ruopp, who is believed to be back on his way down to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so Beau Bennett can rejoin the team.

  1. bgrillz - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    They thought Maatta was a better option than Despres? Or is Despres out of options?

    • hockey412 - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      There is always so much roster manipulation this time of year that it’s really hard to tell…Despres could go to the AHL whereas I’m not sure Maatta could (would have to go back to Juniors)…but then again he clearly isn’t going to be in the NHL this year so why NOT send him back…

      Who knows…it’s all well over my head.

    • bmscalise - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      It’s more that they thought that Orpik, Martin, Letang, Scuderi, Niskanen, and Bortuzzo would be better options than Despres. And they aren’t going to make him a 7th defenseman, since he wouldn’t play enough and stunt his development. Until there’s another injury, he’ll stay in the AHL.

      As far as Maatta, because he can’t go to the AHL, this was a perfect opportunity to give him a short tryout, to give him a taste of NHL action when the stakes are low. The Pens are wildly impressed with him: it’s a reward and a learning experience, since Letang will probably only be out a few games.

    • dirt2013 - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      That move has more to do with the cap than anything else.

    • miketoasty - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      They though Maatta would be a better option. Well, sort of. Bylsma said that it was easier to send Despres down because he wouldn’t have to clear waivers, but also noted that Despres didn’t have a great camp. Drawing at straws of course, being that Bylsma didn’t play Despres much last season I feel like they don’t have a lot of confidence in Despres being ready for the NHL but feel that Maatta is.

    • prohockeyking - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Despres is the only D-man that can be sent to the minors without having to clear waivers. Likely they want to see what Maatta has for a few games and will be sent down to the juniors or it’s likely that one of the defensemen will get traded (Engelland is my guess) and Despres will be brought back to the NHL. With injuries like Letang, and the cap issues… young talent is the best option.

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