Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan as recently as Thursday wasn’t sure if injured defenseman Kris Letang would be available for Saturday’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s sure now.
Sullivan said after the team practiced Friday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex that Letang, who has a lower-body injury, will be out “week to week.”
Missing Letang for multiple weeks is a big blow to the Penguins, who have dealt with injuries all season – they have spent just two full periods at full strength so far – but most of them have hit the forwards.
Letang is considered the team’s top defenseman. He plays big minutes, mans the top pairing, quarterbacks the top power play unit and kills penalties.
“Obviously, we’d like to have him back as quickly as we can,” Sullivan said, “but that’s where he’s at right now. We’ll take each week as it comes and I’ll update you as we go.”
This season, Letang has five goals, 12 points in 15 games.
Letang was hurt in the third period of Tuesday’s game at Boston. He missed Thursday’s road game against the New York Islanders, and that day Sullivan said it seemed probable that Letang would miss Saturday’s game, but indicated that Letang was still being evaluated for the injury.
The Penguins have just one other injury at the moment. Winger Patric Hornqvist is out “longer term” because of a lower body injury. Everyone else participate in the practice Friday.
Rookie John Marino, who filled in for Letang alongside Brian Dumoulin on Thursday, practiced in that spot Friday.