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No Malkin, Letang for Penguins vs. Rangers

Jan 3, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

Evgeni Malkin AP

Despite earlier hopes they’d play, neither Evgeni Malkin nor Kris Letang will suit up for the Penguins tonight at home versus the Rangers.

Defenseman Letang, who hasn’t played since Dec. 13 due to elbow surgery, ruled himself out this morning. Center Malkin (lower-body, last played Dec. 14) skated prior to the rest of his teammates this morning, a strong indication he’d be out as well (since confirmed.)

On the bright side for the banged-up Pens, tonight’s game is at Consol Energy Center, where Pittsburgh is 17-3-0 this season. The Penguins’ last home loss was all the way back on Nov. 13, 2-1 to the Flyers.

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal for Pittsburgh.

  1. steelers88 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Smart move by the Penguins. I think Malkin and Letang are rushing their returns to the lineup. Malkin and Letang can take as much time as they need to get healthy. I personally would tell Malkin to take the rest of this month off and the first few games off in February. I would tell him to get healthy for the olympics. I would tell him comeback to the lineup on February 27th which is the first game back from Olympic break. The Penguins don’t really need Malkin or Letang right at this moment. They have a comfortable lead in the Metropolitan division and they are doing fine without them. I’d rather see Malkin and Letang healthy for the stretch run and the Playoffs. The Penguins don’t need them for stupid regular season games.

    • cofran2004 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Not to mention it’s doubtful that the penguins need malkin and letang to beat the rangers.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      i could care less if malkin played in the olympics, in fact i would prefer he didnt with all the nagging stuff that’s cost him time this season. he could use that time to just rest….wishful thinking though.

    • valoisvipers - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I could sure use them back in my hockey pool!

    • bobc74 - Jan 3, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      Any player who isn’t healthy enough to play for the NHL team that pays them within two weeks of the Olympics shouldn’t be allowed by said team to play in the Olympics.

  2. jpelle82 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    i hope sill sticks around when all these forwards are healthy. bennett and malkin will bump 2 guys and dupuis probably wont be back so i’m thinking he’s got a good chance of sticking around since they will need a good pk guy with dupuis gone. he’s been excellent defensively thus far, hope he gets rewarded with his 1st goal sometime soon.

  3. steelers88 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I mean Malkin even said that his left leg still hurts. They need to have patience, relax, and slow their recovery process down.

  4. toiletclown - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    hopefully letang never comes back. trade him now please

  5. steelers88 - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I hate the idea of Malkin playing in the olympics as well. With all the injury problems he has had this year. I also don’t think like the idea of Crosby playing in the olympics either. I’m always on pins and needles when Crosby and Malkin play in the olypmics.

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Toiletclown, my friend, I wish the same thing as well

    • toiletclown - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      finally someone who knows hockey, i dont know what these people are thinking.

  7. steelers88 - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    I wish they would trade Letang as well.

    • rippit2000 - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      I wouldn’t mind seeing him go either. I really thought Jacques Martin would fix his game, but he hasn’t. Part of it might be that he’s been hurt all year, but even when he’s healthy he’s been bad. I hoped that he would give up some offense to play better defensively and learn to make the simple plays instead of the high risk plays that lead to turnovers. Instead, his offensive game has totally regressed but he still commits the most bone-headed turnovers. At almost $8 million a year starting next season, and with all the talented young D in the pipeline, he’s a luxury item.

      • toiletclown - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        you hit the nail on the head sir.

  8. csilojohnson - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    I hope your the only two that know hockey in Pittsburgh.
    Trading Letang is not a good idea.
    There is risk involved with his type of game. Just as with Karlson or any other offensively gifted blue liner.
    IMO he is a better defender then Karlson. And if not for his injury issues I believe his numbers would show he is better offensivly as well.
    All that being said. I believe his type of game needs a stay at home guy on the other side. The reason Scuderi was brought back. Maata is not a good partner for Letang IMO.
    Not a big fan of Letang playing point on PP. His one timer is a lot better then his decision making in that regard. Seemed as though Bylsma realized that well before his latest injury though.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      martin did a far better job than letang on the pp. i didnt like how they had letang as the trigger man for a while, he continually missed the net and wasnt hitting pads for rebounds either. he waits too long when he should shoot it and shoots too soon when he should wait for a screen. he would be a stellar winger playing with crosby or malkin though, he scored a couple goals this year inside the faceoff circles and is really effective in close when he is forced to just react and use his scoring instincts versus when he is given time from the point to make decisions. i wish they would just make that move to wing already and call him what he is. hoping they keep engelland on the blue line and move letang to the wing when he and martin are both back.

      • bmscalise - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I’m so so tired of the ridiculous comments about Letang moving to wing. Just because a guy is an “offensive defenseman” doesn’t mean he would be any good as a wing. It’s ridiculous to assume that, giving how different the positions are. Therrian forced Letang to play wing once, to punish him. He’s on the record as saying he not only hated it – but wasn’t any good at it. He likes – and needs – to see the whole ice surface from behind the play to do what he does well – get the puck up the ice, either by skating it or passing it. Wing is a much more stationary position than either defense or center – it’s about finding the soft spots on the ice to shoot from. Kris Letang is one of the best skaters in the league – but you’d take away his greatest asset by sticking him on wing? Good thing the Pens coaching staff wouldn’t be dumb enough to do that.

      • jpelle82 - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        if he turns the puck over in the offensive zone its not going to cost the team as many goals as it does when he does it in his own zone…which is all the time. who cares how well he can skate, doesnt mean he can defend against the boards or stop turning the puck over. he plays wing half the game as it is anyway, at least crosby wouldnt have to keep dropping back and covering for him anymore if his position was designated as wing.

  9. runhigh24 - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    I guess now that Fleury is playing well, Pens fans needs someone to hate on and its become Letang by default. Newsflash: He’s not getting traded after signing a long term extensions. Only the Flyers do that.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      fleury isnt playing any better than he normally does during the regular season…jury will be out on him until he wins at least one playoff series this year.

  10. toiletclown - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    letang is awful on the powerplay, he cant stay healthy, I would take karlson over him any day cus he actually produces. Get rid of him hes WAY overpaid for what he does

  11. csilojohnson - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Im pretty sure he was tied for lead in points by Dmen last year. With quite a few less games played. Which makes it safe to assume he wins the norris had he played those games.
    To say he is ineffective is just wrong.
    PP or 5on5.
    I think an earlier poster hit the nail on the head. People just have to hate on something.

  12. Hockeyfan - Jan 3, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Last year, yes. Letang was effective. But this year he is earning the name “Leturnover” with all the giveaways and pinched in too far plays. Pens are stuck with him with that long and expensive contract. This is not hating on him. This is just what his play has been like.

    Crosby needs a new right winger.

  13. csilojohnson - Jan 3, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    I agree with everyone about his shortcomings this year.
    Other then the assumption that the coaches have no say in how much he joins the rush. Seems to me he does it more when the team is having trouble scoring. That tells me it is part of game plan. Coming from coach. Just a guess though.
    I just dont see the logic of assesing his worth based on half a season. That of which hes been injured the majority.
    I dont play hockey. But I can imagine it would take some time to get used to playing at that level after missing time.
    Id have to Google it but it seems like he has been in and out this year on a few occasions.
    After Olympics with him and Scuds healthy paired up. I believe we will see his game pick up. On both ends.

  14. muckleflugga - Jan 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    i’ve only seen letang a couple of times…in florida…two years back

    i’d take him in detroit tomorrow were he available, no problemo

  15. dirt2013 - Jan 3, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    It seems to me that in his new contract he can’t be traded this year even if the pens wanted to do so. Of course this is a message board so anything goes.

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