While the Penguins are busy seeing if Sidney Crosby will be ready to go for tomorrow’s game against Boston, they had a surprise appearance at practice this morning.
Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that injured defenseman Kris Letang joined the team for practice for the first time since being put out of action on February 29 against Dallas. Letang was knocked out of that game thanks to a hit from Stars forward Eric Nystrom. While many suspect that Letang suffered a concussion on the play, the team hasn’t confirmed that.
Seeing Letang back out practicing with the team just a week and a half after getting hurt is a great sign for the Penguins. While the team would love to get Crosby back soon, going without Letang hurts them more.
With how well Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal have played, they haven’t fully missed Crosby’s production. Letang’s abilities on the blue line at both ends of the ice are missed greatly and something they’ll need to be able to win the Stanley Cup.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.