Pens, Bylsma reflect on Letang situation

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The news of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang suffering a stroke last week shocked the hockey world.

While he’ll miss at least the next six weeks after going on blood thinners and receiving further treatment, the timeline how everything happened leading up to his diagnosis is fascinating. Sam Kasan at the Penguins’ site pieced it together.

Letang first felt dizziness and nausea on Jan. 29 while the Pens were in Los Angeles and didn’t skate with the team. He hit the ice for the optional skate the next morning but was told by team doctors to not play.

On Feb. 1 in Phoenix, doctors told Letang they believed he suffered a stroke and he was sent back to Pittsburgh to undergo tests. For three days he was looked at and on Feb. 6, yesterday, they concluded he did indeed have a stroke.

Coach Dan Bylsma spoke about what’s next for the Pens defenseman.

“We’ve had some different conversations with Kris about just his overall health, what he is going through and the last few days have gotten a little bit better grasp on where he is at,” Bylsma said today in Pittsburgh. “They’re not a lot to do with the power play or how he’s bringing the puck up the ice. More over just concern for Kris the person and his health and where he’s at, not even in his career, just where he’s at in a health standpoint.

“And the six weeks, he’s I believe on blood thinners until the six-week mark and then going to be re-evaluated. He’ll be monitored I guess the whole time, but I don’t know if there’s a series of steps. I don’t think there’s a one, two, three that he has to go through during the six-week period of time. He’ll be back here in Pittsburgh at that time and hopefully move on to something different after those six weeks.”

It’s a terrifying situation and to have such a problem like this come up seemingly out of the blue adds a bit more fear to it.

Letang was sent home early for Olympic break to recover and, hopefully, see his health improve.