Pittsburgh Penguins top defenseman Kris Letang had a stroke Monday — the second one during his NHL career — and will be out indefinitely while further tests and a medical plan moving forward are completed.
The positive news is that, according to a team release, the medical event is not expected to be career-threatening.
Letang, 35, also had a stroke in 2014.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall and coach Mike Sullivan are addressing the situation, and PHN will have that covered. Here is the full news release from the team:
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke on Monday, it was announced today by General Manager Ron Hextall.
Letang, is not experiencing any lasting effects of the stroke and will continue to undergo a series of tests over the next week. There will not be any further updates to his condition until all testing is completed and a medical plan is in place. His condition is not believed to be career threatening.
“Kris reported symptoms to the training staff on Monday and was immediately taken to the hospital for testing,” said Hextall. “The test results were shocking to hear, but we are grateful that Kris is doing well. We are thankful to the medical staff and the physicians at UMPC. He is a warrior on the ice, but first and foremost, he is a son, father, husband and friend. His health is our number one priority.”
In 2014, the defenseman missed over two months due to a stroke. During that time period, testing revealed that he was born with a very small hole in the wall of his heart. Although the small defect in the wall is apparent in all individuals, it typically closes on its own in most people. Since his initial stroke eight years ago, he has played 543 regular-season games and made 69 playoff appearances.
“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” said Letang. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. It is important for me that my teammates, family and the fans know that I am okay. I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”
The 6-foot, 201-pound defenseman has one goal and 12 points in 21 games this season. He leads the team in time on ice with 23:54.
The Montreal, Quebec native has played his entire 17-year career with Pittsburgh, recording 662 points (145G-517A) in 962 regular-season games. He is the team’s all-time leader among defensemen in regular-season and playoff games played, goals, assists and points, and has helped the team to three Stanley Cup Championships (2009, ’16, ’17).