The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without defenseman Kris Letang when they entertain the San Jose Sharks tonight. Letang suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes.
David Perron will return to the Penguins lineup after missing Saturday’s game due to illness.
San Jose enters tonight’s game looking for a third straight win. The Sharks are seven points out of a wild card seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile the Penguins entered Sunday’s action in the second spot in the Metropolitan Division.
San Jose won the only meeting between the two clubs 2-1 in a shootout on March 9.
Puck drop tonight is at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on NBCSN, or catch it live online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan didn’t receive a penalty for his hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang late in the second period of Saturday’s game and the NHL Department of Player Safety doesn’t intend to issue any supplement discipline either, per Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan.
You can view the incident below:
While the hit wasn’t high and the concussion was instead the result of the awkward position Letang was in and the subsequent fall, some argued that the check was late. That’s not how the NHL sees it though.
“After reviewing the play carefully and from all angles, we have determined that this was an unfortunate result from a hockey play. It is not boarding, it is not charging, he doesn’t hit him in the head. He finishes his check by shoving Letang and unfortunately he falls awkwardly,” a member of Player Safety told Morgan. “It wasn’t really even a violent hit, although resulted in an unfortunate injury.”
Letang was hospitalized as a result of the hit and has a concussion. With Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) also sidelined, the Penguins will be dressing just five defensemen for the time being.
For his part, Doan said, “We have to finish our checks on him. I didn’t mean to hit him in that… you know hit him to stop him from jumping by. You never ever want to see a guy like that, especially of his caliber. Obviously everything that he’s went through the last couple years, you never want to see that so you feel awful as a player when something like that happens.”
Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang was the victim of an awkward hit by Arizona’s Shane Doan during Saturday’s game and was hospitalized as a result. The Penguins revealed today that Letang is out of the hospital, but he did suffer a concussion.
“We’ll see how he feels over the next few days and go from there,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.
That puts the Penguins in an unusual situation. They aren’t in a position to send anyone to the minors to make room for a call up because all of the players they have on their NHL roster are eligible for waivers. On top of that, putting Letang or defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) on the long-term injured reserve list to free up some cap space isn’t an option because there’s less than 10 games remaining on their schedule.
As a result, Pittsburgh will dress five defensemen for tonight’s game against San Jose. In a pinch, Johnston said he would ask forward Daniel Winnik to “play some defense,” per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari.
Depending on status of Letang, Ehrhoff, #Penguins could play rest of regular season with 5 defensemen plus Winnik as emergency D. Whew boy.