When Kris Letang was originally injured prior to the Pittsburgh Penguins Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 25th, he was listed as day-to-day and expected to rejoin the club within a matter of games. Now, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, head coach Mike Sullivan has told the media that he won’t be travelling with the team and that he’d update them when “he’s getting close.”
The Penguins are off on a five game road trip that will take them through western Canada before facing the Flyers again in Philadelphia on March 15th. If Letang isn’t travelling with the team, he likely at least is out for those first four games. Sullivan wouldn’t tell Mackey or anyone else what exactly the injury is, and it has been shrouded in secrecy since it happened. With it being revealed that T.J. Oshie’s latest “upper-body” injury was actually a concussion, it does cause a little more trepidation when speculating about what may be ailing Letang.
In his last game before being taken out of the lineup Letang played almost 29 minutes, a huge amount for anyone suffering from an injury. In fact, the star defenseman hadn’t played less than 23 since the January game against Detroit in which he suffered a leg injury. That time he was placed on injured reserve and held out two weeks.
Wednesday night against the Jets will mark the sixth straight game he’s missed with the mysterious upper-body injury, and the team could use him back. Though they added depth in both Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit near the deadline, the team is still in the thick of a race for seeding in the Metropolitan Division.
While they are still 3-2 without Letang in the lineup, they’ve obviously missed his presence on the back end. It will be interesting to see where the team lies in the standings when he finally returns. It’s safe to say that the Penguins did well adding depth to their blueline though, as they’re without Letang, Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta for the forseeable future.