Any notion that the Pittsburgh Penguins might ease Kris Letang back into the lineup after missing about two and a half months due to a stroke proved to be inaccurate.
Letang logged 22:30 minutes in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 shootout victory over Detroit in his return last night and he doesn’t seem to mind one bit.
“I felt pretty good,” said Letang, per the Penguins’ website. “I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t perfect structure-wise for me. I’m just happy to be on the ice. It’s something I missed a lot.”
He added that he felt “totally normal” despite how much the Penguins leaned on him.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma praised Letang’s superb conditioning, which is what allowed him to play big minutes despite his lengthy absence.
This all might cause some fans to be nervous that the Penguins might ask him to do too much, too fast after going through such a serious event. That being said, his doctors concluded that hockey wasn’t the cause of his stroke and playing doesn’t increase his risk of having another one.
“He’s at no greater risk to suffer a stroke (from playing hockey) than he would be going to the grocery store,” Penguins GM Ray Shero asserted.
That’s of course great news for Letang and Pittsburgh, which can certainly use him going into the playoffs. The Penguins have dominated during the regular season, but over the last few years they have repeatedly fallen short of expectations in the postseason.
Getting Letang back might not change that trend, but there’s no question that they’re a much better team with him in the lineup.
From the Southampton Press:
Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.
According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.
Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.
As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”
He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.