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Letang finding his groove, not sure when he’ll hit 100%

May 4, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

Kris Letang Getty Images

The fact that Kris Letang is playing at all — let alone at his current level — is huge for Pittsburgh, but the process of fully moving past the stroke that sidelined him for two and a half months isn’t complete.

“He’s able to play in a playoff game 20-plus minutes,” said Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But he’s not to the level where he was a couple of years ago, or last year in the playoffs, when we could get him to 27 or 28 minutes.”

Letang has played in 10 games since his return with seven of them being in the playoffs. He’s been getting better as he gets more games under his belt and he started making bolder plays towards the end of the first round.

That’s not enough for him to call himself 100% though. He still needs to work on his conditioning after he was forced to limit his physical activity in the weeks following his stroke. He’s not sure when he’ll reach his former level and there’s no guarantee it will happen before the end of the playoffs.

Still with every game, he’s getting closer to that goal.

  1. elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 4, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Its a pretty amazing story

  2. erbaker67 - May 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    He’s playing better but has anyone noticed that he doesn’t skate with the puck like he used to? Maybe he is worried about making a mistake and no one covering for him but I feel like he is at his best when he is skating with the puck into the offensive zone, bringing it wide and finding the open man. Please keep in mind I am not talking about being a defensive defenseman and being in the defensive zone. I’m talking about when the pens have control of the puck. Even when the penguins are breaking out and the opposing team is making a change, the defenseman stay back while the forwards are circling in the neutral zone.

    Back to the story, he is getting better especially since the first two games of the Blue Jackets series. I’m glad he is back healthy and hopefully he continues to get better game by game.

    Let’s go Pens!

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 4, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      I bust on him because he can make some bad clearing passes and turn it over but he is quite a dynamic player its weird he can make big blunders sometimes but is still a force and it can all happen on the same shift ! I wish him nothing but a full recovery and like very much watching him play

      • claudegirwho - May 4, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Wow Elmer I have a new respect for you. I love how everyone wanted letang to be playing just like he never sat out for however long and got thrown into the first round of the playoffs. That’s not easy to do and you at least have to get your timing with things down. People were saying maybe we should sit him earlier on but if he’s not gonna have a good playoff then the pens aren’t going anywhere without him playing well.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 4, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        He’s a turnover machine on the blue line and neutral zone. He coughs up pucks like a cat coughs up fur balls. They should move him up front like they do with Byfuglien. Much better forward than Dman.

        Glad he’s back to playing from the stroke though.

      • cheesesteak75 - May 4, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        Broadstreet – he looked pretty bad tonight in the 3-0 victory. Lol!

  3. chanceoffleury - May 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    The Pens’ play as an entire team relies so much on Letang’s (and Martin’s) individual play. Generally, if Letang and/or Martin has a bad game, the Pens as a whole play a bad game. Their style is all about moving the puck up the ice and those long, smooth passes from the d-men, so when the d-men have bad games in terms of puck control the Pens have a hard time getting the puck into the offensive zone at all. Even if they find a way to work around it, they end up playing out of position so their system gets all out of whack. Whenever Letang and Martin are both on top of it, the Pens can run a clinic with their passing game. At their best they run like a well-oiled machine; at their worst they give up 46 shots and blow a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of play against the Columbus Blue Jackets in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

  4. dirt2013 - May 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Does hitting his stride mean hitting the other team with a pass with an open route to MAF? If so he is getting close.

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