Defenseman Letang close to returning with Penguins
Defenseman Kris Letang could be back in the Penguins' lineup sooner than expected.
General manager Ray Shero confirmed Monday that Letang has been cleared for contact and game action.
Letang will not play Tuesday night when the Penguins host Carolina, but he could be back within the next week. He will skate with the Penguins during their morning skate Tuesday.
"Once he feels ready," Shero said, "he'll play. He's been cleared for practice. Kris is doing really well."
The defenseman has not played since absorbing a hit from Montreal's Max Pacioretty on Nov. 26. Letang, whose nose was broken by the hit, returned in that game and scored the game-winner in overtime. He was diagnosed with a concussion a week later.
Pacioretty was suspended three games for violating Rule 48, which prohibits direct contact to a player's head.
"We're all looking forward to having him back," Shero said. "He's grown into one of the really good, young defensemen in our game. We have missed him very much."
Letang had 19 points in 22 games before being injured.
Although the Penguins have almost a week off during the all-star break later this month, Shero said the team will not force Letang to wait until after the break, even though it would give him a few more days to prepare for his return.
"The break isn't that long anyway," Shero said. "He's cleared to play, so we're going to have him out there when he feels like he can go, whenever that is."
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.
- Spaling, Penguins agree to $4.4 million deal
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title