The Pittsburgh Penguins received some good news today as Kris Letang has exited the COVID protocol and will rejoin the club on Wednesday. It’s not all roses though, as both Chad Ruhwedel and Marcus Pettersson have confirmed positive cases and have now entered the protocol. While Ruhwedel is asymptomatic, Pettersson is experiencing symptoms meaning he will miss at least ten days.
It’s not clear when Letang will jump back into the Penguins lineup, but the fact that he’s out of the protocol and ready to return to practice is a welcome one for Pittsburgh. The team was doing well to keep themselves above water through the early part of the season, but after consecutive losses, things were starting to trend down. With Sidney Crosby returning over the weekend and now Letang on track to join him soon, the team will look a lot more like they expected before long.
Still, losing two others certainly hurts, and head coach Mike Sullivan had the line blender out at practice today to deal with it. Juuso Riikola, who cleared waivers a few weeks ago, was quarterbacking the first powerplay unit (likely with the plan of Letang taking his spot soon enough) while Kasperi Kapanen was skating on the second unit and fourth line. Despite having eight points in the standings, the Penguins are in last place in the tough Metropolitan Division and can’t afford to fall much further behind if they have their eyes on a playoff spot.