Kris Letang

Letang out tonight, but no concussion


Not to worry, Penguins fans – Kris Letang doesn’t have another concussion.

At least that’s what Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero told the Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic.

It’s not all goods news though. Letang does have a lower-body injury that will keep him out of tonight’s game versus the Islanders. His status is day-to-day, according to coach Dan Bylsma.

Letang knocked heads with New Jersey’s Dainius Zubrus Sunday, so when he wasn’t on the ice for practice this morning, eyebrows were raised and stomachs were churned. Pittsburgh’s top defenseman has already missed significant time with a concussion.

In other Penguins injury news, defenseman Ben Lovejoy had knee surgery and will miss 3-4 weeks.

Vigneault confirms Sedin diagnosis: “Daniel obviously, as everyone knows, has got a concussion”

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Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed the obvious on Monday, stating that Daniel Sedin suffered a concussion on an elbow to the head from Chicago’s Duncan Keith.

“Daniel obviously, as everyone knows, has got a concussion,” Vigneault told “I’m not going to address this every day. He’s got a concussion and when we’ve got something more to say, we’ll say it.”

Vigneault was terse with reporters in explaining the situation and how he’d handle updates moving forward. One wonders if he’s been instructed to keep his comments to a minimum after subtly calling out referee Dan O’Halloran last week for his involvement in the Sedin-Keith affair. (O’Halloran was widely criticized for calling a two-minute minor when a major and/or game misconduct seemed more appropriate.)

As for Sedin, it’s unclear when he’ll return to action or if there’s a timetable for him getting back into the Canucks lineup. Earlier reports suggested he’d miss two weeks, which would essentially shelf him until the end of the regular season.

Vigneault’s curtness might also have to do with his makeshift lineup. The Canucks have really shuffled the deck in Sedin’s absence, moving Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian onto the top line to play with Daniel’s brother, Henrik. The result? Vancouver only scored six goals on its recently-completed four-game road trip and went 1-for-13 on the power play.

Joni Pitkanen returns from his concussion tonight

Joni Pitkanen

Joni Pitkanen’s long battle back from a concussion is at an end.

The Carolina Hurricanes activated Pitkanen from injured reserve and will have him back in the lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers. Pitkanen missed 44 games with a concussion and has been out since early December. As Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller tells Chip Alexander of the News & Observer, he’s more than happy to have him back.

“He’s ready to go,” Muller said after the morning skate. “I talked to him this morning and he feels good mentally, physically. He’s excited and it will be fun to get him back.”

As we’ve seen with concussion recovery all over the league, it makes everyone a little nervous to see them play that first game back but Muller says there won’t be any limits on his minutes. With the Hurricanes on the absolute fringes of the playoff picture, rounding out their defense with perhaps their best player makes for a nice boost. With rookie Justin Faulk doing a lot of the heavy lifting of late, Pitkanen’s return is a big lift for them.

Taylor Hall isn’t experiencing concussion symptoms

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall isn’t dealing with post-concussion symptoms after taking Calgary’s Cory Sarich’s elbow to his head during Friday’s game. Hall did suffer a momentary loss of consciousness following the collision, but he said he felt fine on Saturday and he was “pretty much normal” on Sunday. Still, Edmonton is erring on the side of caution.

“We’re going to follow protocol, no question,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “There are steps in place for us to follow and allow the medical people to give us the right information, we’re not going to guess on this.”

Hall will be tested by riding a stationary bike to see how he responds to the exercise. If all goes well, the next step after that would be participating in an Oilers’ practice and eventually taking part in contact drills. His plan is to take things day-by-day and hope that he’ll feel just as good Monday as he did Sunday.

Hecht (concussion) isn’t ready to retire

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If you wanted to come up with reasons why this might be Jochen Hecht’s last season, you would definitely be able to generate a few compelling arguments. Hecht will be 35 in June, is in the last season of his contract, and is currently in the process of recovering from his third concussion in roughly a year.

Still, it might not surprise you to learn that Hecht doesn’t want his career to end just yet.

“No,” Hecht said. “I don’t feel like I’m done.”

Hecht has been a solid contributor for years with the Buffalo Sabres, but given his age and his recent injury history, it might be a little tricky for him to get a new contract. If the Sabres don’t re-sign him, then Hecht might be one of those players that get lost in the early days of the free agency period where teams scramble to address the vast majority of their needs. That’s not to say that he can’t or won’t get a new contract, but in my mind he’s not a lock to start the 2012-13 campaign with an NHL squad.

It would help his cause if he’s able to return before the Sabres’ season is over in order to demonstrate that he’s at least entering the summer healthy. Unfortunately, Hecht isn’t likely to be ready to return before the end of the regular season, so the Sabres will probably have to make the playoffs in order for him to get any more ice time before the summer.