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Letang Ribs Officials After Misconduct Penalty in Carolina

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Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Kris Letang (58) looks on during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks on December 17, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

It was more of a critique than criticism. Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang stopped short of venturing into comments which could make his paycheck a little smaller, but he made his point nonetheless.

In the final minutes of overtime Tuesday night as the Penguins lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout, Letang chased down Carolina forward Sebastian Aho who had cherry-picked for a potentially game-winning breakaway.

It didn’t take much, and Letang was given two minutes for slashing. Even on TV replays, the slash was very quick and difficult to see.

Letang scoffed when asked about the call.

“Yeah, I think I gave him a tap on the ass. I literally reached and almost didn’t touch him,” Letang said. “I don’t know why (referee Tim Peel) called that.”

The penalty took away the Penguins chance to win the game in overtime as they were shorthanded for the final two minutes.

“I don’t know. I was really, really surprised,” he said.

Peel also assessed Letang a 10-minute misconduct penalty when Letang fired the puck across the ice after the call. Letang was also a little brusque in the locker room afterward, too. When asked how the call affected the game, he shot back.

“There was no result on the penalty. What do you mean? There was no goal,” he asked before giving a longer answer. “Obviously, I’m in the box instead of being out there on the three-on-three situation. It has an impact obviously. Guys stepped up and made plays on it.”

The Penguins survived the OT period against Carolina, which began the extra period on the power play for the final 16 seconds of Jack Johnson’s roughing penalty and ended the frame with a full two-minute power play.

“It was kind of like hit or miss. At one point, they were letting a lot of stuff go but at one point they were calling little stuff. So you’re kind of like…(confused),” Letang said. “You didn’t know what kind of calls they were going to make. It is what it is.”

Letang returned to the Penguins lineup after missing the last 11 games. He played nearly 27 minutes and also scored what would have been the game-winning goal late in the third period. However, the Penguins again allowed an opponent to score a goal with an extra attacker in the final two minutes. That was the fourth time in their last 12 games in which the Penguins yielded a game-tying goal in a 6v5 situation.

They lead Carolina by just two points for third place in the Metro Division, but Carolina has two games in hand. The Penguins lead over Montreal slipped to six points as Montreal beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, Tuesday night. The Penguins magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 13 points. Any combination of the Penguins gaining 13 points or Montreal losing points will guarantee the Penguins a playoff spot.

 

 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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MacKenzie Porter
MacKenzie Porter
2 years ago

I find it amazing that a referee can hand out a game misconduct to a player for firing a puck across the ice, while another player can line up someone for a check and deliver a blow to the head (with probable intent to injure) and only be assessed a 2 minute minor penalty. I’m referring to the Wayne Simmonds hit on Brian Dumoulin. No other sport’s league is like this.

RobertU
RobertU(@robertu)
2 years ago

Yep, that’s one of the main problems with the NHL – Cromagnon “leadership” that insists officials only enforce the rules that uphold some imaginary definition of “manliness.” Despite what the league would have us believe, the sport’s popularity is not growing, mainly due to this pretentious code of theirs, which will be the death of the league eventually. If they don’t make changes soon, the NHL will end up being as dead as professional boxing.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

The penalty is precisely why Letang is a good player as opposed to an all-time great. #DumbDeDumbDumb

Jim Loeffert
Jim Loeffert
2 years ago

While Kris Letang sometimes takes “questionable” penalties, he’s a guy who plays more minutes than anyone, is a big reason every season why the Pens can play ‘taking certain risks’, (his closing speed is INCREDIBLE on the back-check!), and they are a completely different team, that must change EVERYTHING with him out of their line-up! He should already have a Norris Trophy in his trophy case, but with so much talent on one team, (Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, & now Guentzel), he gets “lost in the shuffle” at times. For every mistake made, he makes 10 or more plays that defy… Read more »

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