Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang says he’s feeling better after suffering a season-ending concussion in late March and, what’s more, is fully confident he’ll be ready to play by the start of next season.
From the Tribune-Review:
The 28-year-old defenseman has suffered multiple concussions, a stroke and has a history of migraine headaches. However, he hasn’t considered having his career cut short by head injuries.
“No concern,” he said. “I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol. I’ll be back on the ice. I missed only a bunch of games once, when I got (a concussion) in Montreal (in 2011). I never missed time for a concussion after that. I’m not really scared.”
Letang said he will be ready for next season.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “Oh yeah. Right from training camp.”
Letang missed the Pens’ final six games of the regular season with the concussion, and all five playoff games in an opening-round loss to the Rangers. Prior to getting hurt he was having a banner campaign — a career-high 54 points in 69 games — and was averaging more than 25 minutes a night.
Needless to say, his injury was a crucial blow to the Penguins (along with Olli Maatta and Pascal Dupuis, both of whom also suffered season-ending injuries.) This is part of the reason why Pittsburgh is reportedly giving head coach Mike Johnston and GM Jim Rutherford another kick at the can — CEO David Morehouse said he’s “never given any consideration” to replacing the pair, citing the team’s man games lost to injury as a big reason why it slumped down the stretch and won just a single playoff game before getting eliminated.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, now fighting for their playoff lives, will be without defenseman Kris Letang for the remainder of the season, according to a report that surfaced Friday evening.
From Dejan Kovacevic of DK on Pittsburgh Sports:
Kris Letang will not play again for the Penguins this season, “even if we make a deep run in the playoffs,” general manager Jim Rutherford told DKonPittsburghSports.com after tonight’s game at Consol Energy Center.
And from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
If the Penguins earn a playoff spot, it is “not likely” defenseman Kris Letang will play, general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Letang has been out since March 28 because of a concussion that occurred after a hit into the boards by Arizona’s Shane Doan.
“Based on his present condition,” Rutherford said, “it’s not likely he’d return this year.”
On March 28, Letang was hospitalized after taking a hit from Arizona Coyotes veteran forward Shane Doan and diagnosed with a concussion.
Related: (Video) PHT Extra: What’s ailing the Pittsburgh Penguins
Whether you agree or disagree with the lawsuit that’s been brought against the NHL by former players who continue to struggle with symptoms related to concussions, it’s hard to read this account by Dan LaCouture in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and not feel sympathy.
LaCouture, 37, played 337 games in the NHL with six different teams. While in the league, he was no stranger to dropping the gloves.
I have debilitating headaches, nausea and motion sickness every day. I am always irritable. And with recent studies showing the shattering illnesses linked to traumatic brain injury, along with the recent news of National Hockey League legend Stan Mikita’s unfortunate battle with dementia, I fear worse symptoms are yet to come.
My most serious concussion occurred in 2004 during a game at Madison Square Garden when I jumped into a fight to defend a Rangers teammate who had been hit from behind. During the brawl, my helmet slipped off and I split my head open on the ice as another player landed on top of me. The next thing I remember was being lifted off the ice by teammates and trainers. I got some stitches but never received an MRI, a CAT scan or serious medical treatment of any kind.
Things have changed in the relatively short time since then. There’s more awareness now, and head injuries are treated more seriously.
But this case isn’t about the present. LaCouture alleges that the NHL “for years denied the link between hits to the head and devastating neurological disorders,” and also that the league “concealed information from players.”
That’s the key element in all this — concealment.
The NHL, obviously, disagrees with that particular allegation.
Related: Do the players suing the NHL over concussions have a case?