The news on the latest injured Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, Kris Letang, wasn’t all bad. But it wasn’t necessarily encouraging, either.
Letang will miss Monday night’s game against the Rangers in New York and is considered day to day, but he is still being evaluated for a lower-body injury he sustained Saturday, all according to coach Mike Sullivan. Letang is the team’s sixth injured defenseman, just nine games into the season.
That would seem to mean that the extent of Letang’s injury and the time he might miss are not fully known, more so than it has been determined that he might have something minor and could hop back into the lineup soon.
The Penguins finish a road trip Monday night before returning home to face New Jersey on Tuesday. Letang did not participate in the team’s morning skate Monday.
Letang apparently got hurt on a hit in the corner in the first period Saturday in New York, a play that looked fairly innocuous but sent him down the player runway.
Letang has no goals, three assists through nine games, and while he hasn’t looked to be at the top of his game, he certainly can’t recapture his form while he’s dealing with an injury.
He also was one of the last defensemen standing from the Penguins’ original plans when he got hurt.
To review, in order of games missed:
*Zach Trotman, who surely would have been called up from the taxi squad quickly this season, instead had knee surgery and has missed all nine games.
*Mike Matheson has missed seven games but has skated.
*Marcus Pettersson has missed five games.
*Juuso Riikola has missed five games.
*Brian Dumoulin has missed two games.
That leaves John Marino as the only defenseman who has played, and finished, every game.
“It’s been pretty crazy with the injuries, but there’s not much you can do about it,” Marino said. “The most we can do is have that next-guy-up mentality and just keep plugging away.”
The others who have been dressing on defense include Chad Ruhwedel, Codi Ceci, Kevin Czuczman, newly acquired Yannick Weber and, of course, rookie P.O. Joseph, who has four assists in five games and has received universal praise for his two-way play and apparent NHL readiness.
One other note following the Monday morning skate: Casey DeSmith will start in goal for the Penguins against the Rangers.