Pittsburgh Penguins v Anaheim Ducks

Letang (concussion), Dupuis (blood clots) to be ‘retested’ over next two weeks

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The next 14 days will be fairly important ones for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Pascal Dupuis — who were shut down this season due to a concussion and blood clots, respectively — are set to undergo medical tests over the next two weeks in the hopes of clearing up their playing futures.

“We will hopefully know something then,” Pens GM Jim Rutherford said, per the Tribune-Review. “[We’re] keeping our fingers crossed.”

Dupuis, 36, was shut down in mid-November with a blood clot in his lung. While he said he feels he can return to action, he did acknowledge the decision was “not up to me,” and that a series of medical tests would be required before he could be cleared.

A regular linemate of Sidney Crosby, Dupuis is heading into the third of a four-year, $15 million deal that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.75M.

As for Letang, he was shut down in early April after suffering his fourth concussion in three years on this hit from Arizona captain Shane Doan:

The 28-year-old also suffered a stroke last season — one that, remarkably, only sidelined him for 10 weeks — yet insists that he’ll be ready to go for training camp in the fall.

More, from the Tribune-Review:

[Letang] 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.”

It’s likely the prognoses for both Letang and Dupuis will affect how Rutherford addresses free agency and potential offseason trades. The Penguins missed Dupuis’ production up front — in his last full season, the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, he had 38 points in 48 games — and Letang was the biggest injury on a blueline that was decimated in the second half of the season, to where the Pens dressed just five d-men for a couple of games down the stretch.

Report: Bettman ordered to testify in concussions lawsuit

New York Rangers v Phoenix Coyotes
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From TSN.ca:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been ordered by a U.S. federal court judge to offer testimony in the concussions lawsuit filed by 60 former players against the league.

TSN has learned that late Tuesday, a judge ordered Bettman to testify in July on matters related to the high-stakes litigation.

The lawyers for the players have taken issue with a number of things that Bettman has said in the past regarding brain injuries in hockey, the insinuation being that he hasn’t taken the issue as seriously as he should have. They’ll also no doubt question how much scientific information the league did or did not pass on to the players.

Related: Ask a Lawyer: Do the players suing the NHL over concussions have a case?

Not just Kronwall — Zidlicky (concussion) also expected to miss Game 7

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three
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As if playing without Nicklas Kronwall wasn’t going to be enough of a challenge, it appears the Detroit Red Wings will also be without Marek Zidlicky for Game 7 of their series with the Lightning tonight in Tampa Bay.

Zidlicky reportedly suffered a concussion in Game 6. He did not skate this morning. (Update: Zidlicky is confirmed out, per coach Mike Babcock.)

With two veteran defensemen missing — one suspended, the other hurt — Detroit’s defense is expected to look like this:

Jonathan Ericsson — Alexey Marchenko
Danny DeKeyser — Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith — Jakub Kindl

Neither Marchenko nor Kindl dressed for Game 6, in which Kronwall logged 24:16 and Zidlicky 17:22. In fact, Kindl has yet to appear in the postseason; he last played April 11 in Carolina.

Related: Can Mrazek steal Game 7 for Red Wings?

Rangers lose Zuccarello indefinitely with suspected concussion

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five
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Tough news out of New York today — the Rangers have announced that forward Mats Zuccarello will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury,  which the Post is reporting to be a concussion.

Zuccarello was hurt in the first period of Saturday’s Game 5 series-clinching win over Pittsburgh, after taking this Ryan McDonagh shot to the helmet:

Zuccarello left the game and didn’t return.

The loss, if lengthy, will be a significant one for the Blueshirts. The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 17:15 TOI this season and finished third on the team in assists, with 34. The Norwegian winger also inked a four-year, $18 million extension with New York in early March and, last year, was given the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award for being the player who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

In this year’s opening round against Pittsburgh, Zuccarello had two points in five games. The Rangers will take the winner of tonight’s Caps-Isles game in Round 2.

Letang (concussion) will be ready for Pens’ training camp

Kris Letang
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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.