Penguins notebook: Sick Letang doubtful for Pens on Saturday
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kris Letang is sick of missing time.
He also is “sick and doubtful” to play for the Penguins against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night, coach Dan Bylsma said.
Letang, a late scratch from a win at Los Angeles on Thursday, did not practice Friday at Jobing.com Arena.
He remains with the Penguins on their Western road trip, Bylsma said, though Letang was not at the arena during practice.
Letang practiced Thursday morning and displayed no cold- or flu-like symptoms when speaking with teammates after the win over Los Angeles.
A Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist last season, Letang has played in only 34 games — scoring 10 goals — because of a strained right knee, an infected left elbow and this unidentified illness.
He was not available for comment per club policy on injured/ill players.
Keeping Letang, an admittedly contemplative player, in the right frame of mind will be a priority given his injury-plagued season — as indicated by Bylsma's public vote of confidence Friday.
“Kris' last game was excellent,” Bylsma said, referring to a 21-shift, plus-1 effort in a home win over Buffalo on Monday.
“Going into the trip, he was excited about putting (games like) those together. That was a really good game, where he needs to be. That was his best. I'm looking forward to getting on the plane (back to Pittsburgh) and continuing that.”
After facing the Coyotes, the Penguins face Ottawa at Consol Energy Center on Monday — one of three games next week before the Olympic break (Feb. 7-23).
The trade deadline is March 5, and rosters are frozen during the Olympics.
The Penguins are not shopping Letang, who next season will count $7.25 million against the salary cap.
On July 1, Letang can identify a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a trade, but that clause does not exist in the final year of his current deal.
Paul Martin said Zach Parise “would have been my guess” to captain Team USA at the Winter Olympics.
Parise, a Minnesota winger, was tabbed Friday to lead the Americans by USA Hockey. American alternates are Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter and Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown.
Parise, who captained New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, starred for Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. He tied for the team lead with four goals and eight points for the silver medalist Americans.
“He's always been a big face for USA Hockey in the way that he plays and carries himself,” said Martin, who along with Penguins teammate Brooks Orpik will play defense for Team USA in Sochi, Russia. “He's a big team guy, so I think that's why he's a good choice (to captain) our squad.”
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, at one point a close friend with Parise, will wear the “C” for Team Canada at the Winter Games.
Making a mark
Prior to practice Friday afternoon, Penguins players and coaches gathered near the benches as Phoenix-based fan Jacob Potter, a staff sergeant, re-enlisted for life with the Army.
Potter is from Hollidaysburg.
After a brief flag ceremony on the bench, Potter was greeted with a group stick-tap salute followed by a handshake from every healthy Penguins player.
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.
- Analysis: Where do the Penguins, Wilkes-Barre club go from here?
- AHL goaltender Murray strumming favor with Penguins
- Starkey: Pens made right call on Babcock
- AHL wing prospect Sheary an intriguing option for Penguins
- Penguins GM Rutherford: Medical updates upcoming
- GM Rutherford says Penguins aren’t interested in Babcock