Kris Letang would have had a hard time getting much done had the Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference Final and that’s assuming he would have played at all.
Letang broke his foot in Game 6 of Pittsburgh’s second round series against the New York Rangers and suffered a broken hand in Game 7, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie. He will not be able to workout for the next four weeks.
That concludes a rough campaign for Letang, who missed a significant chunk of the season after sustaining a stroke. Fortunately he was able to come back from that, even if he struggled to get back to his former level, but that wasn’t the only problem he dealt with in 2013-14.
Letang suffered two significant injuries during the regular season before he suffered a stroke and only played in 37 games as a result. Over the last three campaigns, Letang has played in just 123 of a possible 212 games because of a variety health issues, including two concussions.
The Penguins have indicated that they’re ready to make meaningful changes by firing former GM Ray Shero. Perhaps they’ll follow it up by moving Letang, who is about to start his eight-year, $58 million contract.
Avoiding that $7.25 million annual cap hit would be big for the Penguins, who already have a big chunk of their payroll consumed by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. At the same time, that contract combined with his injury history might cause teams to shy away from Letang, despite his abilities.
Now is the time to explore trading Letang
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer