Skip to main content

Kris Letang returns to practice less than two months after stroke

When news broke that Kris Letang had suffered a concussion in January, it was highly likely his 2013-14 season was over. But here we are less than two months later and the 26-year-old defenseman is back on the ice with the Penguins in practice.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s been a little less than two months since Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang suffered a stroke.

Today, he was back at practice.

It’s still unclear whether or not Letang will return this season, but that’s certainly his goal. It wouldn’t be any other way for a competitive, professional athlete. Heck, just last week Rich Peverley wanted back on the ice after collapsing from a heart ailment.

From NHL.com:

"There's no doubt in my mind (his goal is to return his season)," Letang said. "Even the day I got the stroke, I asked the doctor when I'm going to be able to play again. So there's no doubt about it. If I'm on the ice today, it's because I want to return."

Last week, doctors decided it was safe to take Letang off blood thinners. And though his teammates were, obviously, concerned about being physical with him during today’s skate, the 26-year-old defenseman expressed to them that he wanted to face that challenge.

If Letang returns this year, it would be nothing short of incredible and unexpected. Last season, Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson returned two months after his Achilles tendon was sliced by a skate blade, long before anyone thought it was humanly possible. Letang’s situation is much more unpredictable and prone for a setback, but here were are talking about him returning to the ice far before we ever anticipated.

The Penguins have won half of their 14 games since Letang has been out of the lineup. His puck-moving presence on the blueline is sorely needed, even if, like Karlsson, he doesn’t return in peak, Norris potential form.

It’s an amazing and positive development of a troubling story. The worst thing about today was that Letang admitted to being winded at the end of practice – and that’s not bad at all.

Said Bylsma: "To see him back out there…we did a drill and I'm offering resistance and to see Kris Letang coming with that speed, I was like 'Wow, haven't seen that in a lot of cases from our team.' ”

Follow Rory on Twitter

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_12279315
Play

Roberto Luongo Q&A: What it Means to be Named to Hockey Hall of Fame

Roberto Luongo looks back at how his career started, playing 70-plus games a year at points, becoming a fan favorite in Florida, his Twitter account and what getting named to the Hockey Hall of Fame means to him.

USATSI_18521440

Could the New York Rangers Part Ways With Artemi Panarin?

Panarin struggled in the post-season, and some reports have suggested it wouldn't be crazy if he was shipped out of the Big Apple. Still, as Lyle Richardson says, it would be a challenge to move the forward.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin

Sedin Twins, Luongo Highlight Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo and Daniel Alfredsson headline the official Hockey Hall of Fame induction class of 2022.