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Letang returns to Penguins lineup Wednesday following stroke

Apr 9, 2014, 10:20 AM EST

Kris Letang AP

After missing over two months of action due to a stroke, Kris Letang will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Wednesday night.

Penguins GM Ray Shero made the announcement this morning saying Letang would be back on the ice when the Penguins host the Detroit Red Wings (8 p.m. on NBCSN) after missing 20 games when he suffered a stroke in late January. The last time he suited up was January 27 against Buffalo.

In 34 games this season, Letang has 10 goals and eight assists but his return means the Penguins are getting their No. 1 defenseman back in time for the postseason. Aside from Paul Martin, Letang sees the most minutes of ice time on the team at 24:13 per game. Giving those minutes to other players

Provided he doesn’t have any setbacks with his health, the Penguins just got a major boost heading into the postseason.

  1. sjtorpitt - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Nice. Could be a big X-factor in the playoffs.

    • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      x factor? more like the factor.

      • illashell - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        No doubt he was THE factor against the Sens last year.

  2. dropthepuckeh - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Happy to hear he is okay and able to play. Love to hate the Penguins but at the end of the day it is all a game (business) and I am glad he will be returning.

  3. steelpenbucs87 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Can’t wait to have him back tonight. Such a journey for him and I’m glad he feels ready to go. Also glad to hear that the Doctors confirmed that the stroke was not hockey related, so that he doesn’t have to weigh that every time he laces up his skates.

  4. pdmjr - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Just happy he is alive and can play what he loves to do.

  5. patthehockeyfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I believe that hockey players would play with a cast on their legs, a stent in their hearts, a steel plate in their heads, or on a crutch retrofitted with a blade. Nothing but respect for these guys!

  6. jpelle82 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    when i heard this originally i thought of tedy bruschi (apparently they have the same heart thing). bruschi’s stroke was apparently more severe and included some paralysis which just makes me appreciate what a warrior he really was for coming back and being effective (led the team in tackles i believe?) at his age. letang is younger and apparently his stroke was minor in comparison so he can consider himself pretty lucky, glad he is able to return like tedy was, hopefully it doesnt take too long to get his legs under him again.

    • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      been practicing in full for weeks hopefully that makes for a quick transition back to near top form.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        any word on malkin’s broken foot?

      • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        i didnt see anything other than yesterday he skated after seeing a doctor who told him he was good to do some light skating. bylsma (as per usual since the sid saga) has not put a timeline on his return still.

  7. earpaniac - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    This is amazing, and a little bit of luck. Any stroke is no joke. I was wondering if he’d be able to play ever, let alone this year. If he can get his wind, this will be a great add to the Pens chances.

  8. sjsharks66 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    After learning of the Ultimate Warriors passing last night, this is great news! Glad Letang is well enough to play. Hopefully this is it for serious health issues in his career. Too much talent to be set on the shelf from illness and injury. Welcome back Letang.

    • alicesrightfootesq - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Warrior’s spirit lives on through Kris Letang.

  9. muckleflugga - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    patthehockeyfan … good one

    there was a day when they did … think bobby baun … as a young wings fan a heartbeat away from a cup, i loved him and hated him all at the same time though the crushing game six goal was a fluke

    http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com/2009/04/stanley-cup-legends-bobby-bauns-broken.html

    we played with a guy who was game in and game out one of our best players … he had a right leg prosthesis with stump below the knee

    people would lay lumber on him as he blew-by and they’d hear a sharp ping ringing off the stainless steel leg hidden under his stocking and give everyone the wtf look

    we’d just howl watching him dance by those guys

  10. pmac26 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    I’m of the opinion that even after being cleared Kris Letang should NOT be playing again this season. Just last week Bob Errey stated during a Pens telecast that Kris Letang was still suffering dizziness. In my opinion he is coming back too soon, he should take the summer off and start fresh next season.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      good luck telling that to a guy like letang, or any hockey player for that matter…

    • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      you shouldnt just say stuff like this without knowing whats going on. there is no fact to your assesment.

      letang ha a history of migraines and dizziness and what he has experienced is not related to the stroke, but the status quo for him. he has gone though almost daily tests for several weeks now and it was determined (might i add by some of the best doctors in the world in pittsburgh and michigan) that there are no effects from the stroke, hockey did not and will not cause a stroke, and there is nothing to be gained by waiting any longer than he already has.

      letang was cleared a long time ago, and wanted to play a while go too and shero kept saying no. well it seems finally shero has seen enough tests and enough practices with letang in it that he said ok.

      dont be ignorant.

      • pmac26 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        I never said that hockey caused the stroke!!!!!! I did say that BOB ERREY reported that he was still having dizziness. I didn’t report it. You may also want to check your facts the only thing that Letang was cleared for before today was parctice. It was never Shero’s call it was the doctors who had not cleared him to play.

      • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        lol. your just plain wrong. bob errey may have said something he heard, and he did hear right, but the dizziness had nothing to do with the stroke. dont speculate.

        he was at practice taking full contact because he was fully cleared to play a while ago. sometime after the 6 week mark.

        the decision at that point was up to him. it wasnt so much that it was sheros decision to clear him but that shero sort of…plodded along with it just to make sure he was feeling good for a while.

        please dont argue with me about it, just look further into the matter and youll see im right.

      • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Letang was cleared for weeks by doctors, practicing with the Penguins in full contact workouts. The Penguins left it up to Letang to decide when he was ready to return, having been told by the doctors that hockey wasn’t the source of his medical malady. That said, they kept him out a little longer even after he was “begging to come back.”

        “We have assurance, and he has assurance, that hockey did not cause the stroke. Playing tonight vs. playing in October or 10 years from now it’s going to change that. Resting and playing xBox isn’t going to make him better,” said Shero.

        that is an excerpt from todays article out of puck daddy.

        like i said, calm down, and just know the facts before you get all worked up about something.

      • pmac26 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        I also said it is MY OPINION that he should take the summer off and start fresh next season. I’m pretty sure that I’m entitled to an opinion. I don’t see where anything I said was ignorant.

    • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      thats fine if you want to form that opinion but i wanted to make sure you were forming the opinion on the right facts and circumstances instead of perceptions, speculations, and untruths.

      im of the opinion that if doing what i love will not cause me any harm, and that i may incur harm regardless (remember he basically had this stroke while he was sleeping) then your GD right im going to play some puck while i wait around for death. (so to speak).

  11. muckleflugga - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    pmac26

    i’m with you on that … based on what’s been reported regarding his heart ailment it surprised the hell out me he’s due back

    chasing helm and nyquist can be fatal on any night … zoom zooooooooooooom shift juke red light red light red light red light

    and that’s just an ambulance weaving through a springling pittsburgh night

  12. toiletclown - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Another piece of the legendary cup team in 2014 back.. God I love it here

    • laxman1944 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      FLUSH

    • macgrubie - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      I’m starting to believe you’re actually just someone trying to make more people hate Pittsburgh…

  13. terrier92 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Bruins fans wish nothing but the best for Kris. Good luck kid

  14. laxman1944 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Good to hear he is getting back on the horse.

  15. bbmadface - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    There goes the neighborhood. Letang is a boss

  16. nj666 - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Thats good hes coming back to the game.

  17. sumkat - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    I seem to be in the major minority here, but is this guy crazy?

    This isn’t a broken bone, or a torn ligament. It’s a stroke. He’s coming back in 2 months? Take the rest of the year and the off season. This isn’t something that can make it tough to walk. Or even something that could leave you with memory loss. This is something that could kill him, or leave him unable to walk, let alone play hockey.

    Be SURE you are 100% before you come back. He’s a young guy, it’s not like he’s 35

    • c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      dr. sumkat

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Dr. sumkat: “I’m not a doctor; but, I play one on TV.”

    • hockey412 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      I don’t think you understand. There IS no 100% in his case. He could go tomorrow, or in 80 years…he could go on the rink, or at home on his couch resting.

      That’s the point, here. He’s no more at risk on the ice than resting at home. That’s why he’s cleared. ‘Resting’ won’t help, playing won’t hurt, his chances.

  18. c9castine - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    lol i was thinking more like..

    “I’m not a doctor, but I did beat Operation like 5 times in a row!”

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Good one, too. Love it!

      After I clicked post, I thought I could have done better. “I’m not a doctor; but, I play one on PHT.”

  19. kastout11 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    First of all, I am happy that he made a full recovery and he is healthy. I am not here to troll, but I honestly don’t think it matters that he is back. He is an offensive defenseman, and the problem in Pittsburgh is their defense, not their offense. Until he proves me wrong, I don’t think Fluery is a Stanley Cup quality goalie anymore. the last cup was what, 5 years ago, and he has let them down every year since then. I think Martin coming back is a bigger deal then Letang, but again, his health is more important than the playing hockey, and I am glad he is healthy.

    • hockey412 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      Nothing wrong with your opinion, and it’s hardly trolling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if, such as in your case, it is incorrect.

      Just kidding – many people have that opinion, I’m mixed on mine. I do think defense is a problem, but not the biggest. And even then I think TEAM defense is the problem, not a need for a ‘better’ defenseman. They are 8th in the league in GA/G, 10th is SA/G…not horrible.

      IMO their biggest enemy is motivation/discipline/consistency. The rest will fall in line. These aren’t things that can be taught, but they are damn sure things that can be coached.

      I’m in the minority that thinks Fleury will have a good playoffs run. Not Rask good, but good enough. Mark my words…I’ll eat crow later if they are wrong.

      • seniorteacherdot - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        I’m with you. I think the playoffs will be great and hopefully result in the cup!

  20. penguins87and71 - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    This is a big deal getting Letang back. Once Malkin comes back it will be even better! The Penguins are getting healthy at the right time and the rest of the NHL better get ready! Also on a more sad and serious note, my thoughts and prayers go out to the students and the teachers that were involved in the Franklin Regional High School stabbing in Murrysville PA, just a terrible event. Lots of friends from around there. Just remember god is still in control, and his still great. Life is bigger then hockey.

  21. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Good to hear for Letang on a personal note. Having said that, go Wings.

  22. lp0320 - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    As a Pittsburgher and a hockey fan since the days of Randy Carlyle and Ron Stackhouse, I am incredibly happy that Kris Letang has overcome this serious medical issue. He is young and in great shape so I believe his recuperation is complete. To the folks who say he shouldn’t play this year, I understand your concern. But I also firmly believe that the Penguins’ organization would not risk this young mans’s health if he truly wasn’t fully recuperated. Here’s hoping that he is fully recovered and can continue his career!

    And to the poster who mentioned the awful school violence in the Pittsburgh area, thank you for your concern and kind thoughts.

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