Penguins’ Kris Letang defiant in saying changing his game ‘is not the answer’
In the wake of getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs, some want the Pittsburgh Penguins to modify their mindset and take a more conservative approach.
Kris Letang doesn’t want to hear it, at least when it comes to his game personally.
“I don’t think the (answer) is to change my whole game,” Letang said Thursday as the 2018-19 Penguins met en masse for the final time. “I am not going to (allow) three plays in my whole year (change) the type of game I play, you know?”
Letang was referencing a handful of turnovers or ill-advised pinches he made that led to New York Islanders goals during the four-game series that ended the Penguins’ season Tuesday. Some have suggested that the Penguins take too many chances and could learn from the Islanders’ patient approach. Letang, perhaps as much as anyone on the roster, is often viewed as the proverbial poster child for that.
The veteran defenseman took issue with questioning from a reporter along those lines Thursday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, at points getting agitated when asked if he intended to change his game going forward.
“Um, what do you mean?” Letang responded, testily, before the question was rephrased.
“So, what are you asking? I don’t understand? You don’t want me to not make mistakes? I’ll try that… I’ll try that – next year, I’ll try to make no mistakes at all.”
Letang: “I made some mistakes. I wish I could take them back. But changing my whole game isn’t the answer.” -SK
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) April 18, 2019
The reporter acknowledged that hockey is a game of mistakes and that Letang’s style is highly-productive and regularly had Letang among the NHL’s defenseman scoring leaders. But Letang was asked if he ever considered dialing back his aggression offensively.
“That’s the thing, maybe next year you are saying, ‘We have Kris on our lineup and he doesn’t do anything offensively,’ so are you going to rip me apart because I don’t produce anything?” Letang said. “I totally (understand) sometimes I make mistakes; I wish I could take those back. At the end of the day, yeah I wish I could have done something (different) at different times.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .