No news was, well, no news Tuesday for Pittsburgh Penguins where defenseman Kris Letang was concerned.
Letang left during the third period of Monday’s 6-4 loss at Boston and did not practice Tuesday, but coach Mike Sullivan had no updates, saying Letang is still being evaluated for a lower-body injury,
The Penguins practiced in Newark, N.J., Tuesday. They have a scheduled day off Wednesday before playing the New York Islanders on Thursday, then returning home.
There is plenty of time to recall a player or two before the game at the Islanders.
Also not practicing Tuesday were center Evgeni Malkin and Letang’s defense partner, Brian Dumoulin. Malkin, who has been back two games after missing 11 because of a lower-body injury, was given a maintenance day, Sullivan said. Dumoulin was allowed to return home to be with his wife and newborn son, Brayden, according to Sullivan.
Dumoulin presumably will be back with the team for Thursday’s game. Sullivan, asked whether Dumoulin would get a fill-in defense partner or the pairings would be scrambled if Letang can’t play, said, “Not sure. That’s something that we’re discussing right now in the event that that does occur.”
The Penguins already have lost 60 man-games to injury. They have played just two periods with a fully healthy roster – that came Saturday, before winger Patric Hornqvist sustained a lower-body injury that Sullivan said will keep him out longer term.
The majority of the injuries have hit forwards, but losing Letang for any games would be significant.
Letang, 32, has been the Penguins’ top defenseman for years. The team relies on his puck-moving skills, his two-way instincts. He quarterbacks the power play and kills penalties.
He also has a history of assorted injuries and medical issues.
But he has been off to a strong start this season, with five goals, 12 points in 15 games. He ranks seventh in the NHL in scoring among defensemen.