Penguins notebook: Slow-starting Letang frustrated
By Rob Rossi
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 4:18 p.m.
Kris Letang is frustrated.
His primary source of dissatisfaction is an underwhelming offensive start — four goals and one assist in 16 games entering Wednesday night's game against Toronto — and lingering discomfort in a right knee that was injured late in training camp.
Letang missed the Penguins' opening nine games to rest and rehabilitate the knee, but soreness remains.
A Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist last season, Letang was the only defenseman to average a point per game.
He was not pleased with his removal from the Penguins' top power-play unit last week. Defenseman Paul Martin replaced him.
Letang ranked 10th among NHL defensemen in power-play points (13) last season, but he hoped to improve upon that this season to add to his credentials for inclusion on Canada's Olympic squad.
He had only three power-play points before the Penguins played the Maple Leafs.
Martin is out four to six weeks with a broken tibia, so Letang was to return to the top power-play unit against Toronto. He also was to be paired with Brooks Orpik, with whom he played throughout the 2010-11 season — the last time he had a regular defense partner.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has not said he is displeased with Letang.
“With the way the league is right now, he still is (playing against) good players and big minutes and defensive situations,” Bylsma said.
Letang had averaged 24 minutes, 42 seconds of ice time. Montreal's P.K. Subban, who won the Norris last season, averaged only eight more seconds than Letang.
However, Letang feels he has carried the puck less this season. The Penguins have switched to a neutral-zone defensive system that placed three players, usually two defensemen, behind the puck at all times.
Though he has played the past eight games with rookie Olli Maatta, Letang is miffed that his lack of a consistent partner often goes overlooked regarding public criticism that has irked him dating to the end of last season.
He has played in only four periods with Rob Scuderi (broken ankle). Scuderi was signed in July specifically to play alongside Letang.
Winger Matt D'Agostini was claimed off waivers Wednesday by the Buffalo Sabres.
Signed to a one-year (one-way) contract during the offseason, D'Agostini produced only one point in eight games for the Penguins.
Projected as a possible third-line replacement for Tyler Kennedy, D'Agostini never found consistent playing time after suffering a lower-body injury in the second week of training camp.
Forwards Jayson Megna and Chris Conner were recalled from AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Each is on his second NHL stint this season. Winger Tanner Glass (broken hand) is out three to four weeks.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Physical Columbus team is a hit in playoff opener against Penguins
- Play of the game: Sutter’s goal completes rally
- Penguins notebook: Goc skates, tests ailing ankle
- Q&A with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
- Penguins coach Bylsma’s system will be put to test in Stanley Cup playoffs
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Penguins notebook: Vokoun remains behind Zatkoff on goalie depth chart
- Starkey: Letang back in form
- Penguins need several players to step up during playoffs
- Blue Jackets confident as they wade into postseason