Getty

Kris Letang isn’t interested in getting less ice time now that he’s healthy

4 Comments

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been cleared for contact before training camp opens Friday.

Letang, who underwent season-ending neck surgery on April 13 to repair a herniated disc, said he felt healthy Tuesday but continues to take his recovery one day at a time. He hopes to play when the defending Stanley Cup champions open their regular season against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 4.

“Health is pretty good,” Letang said. “I’ve been working out all summer. I was restrained at the beginning, but I got the clearance to start running and skating around July 5. Pretty full summer. … We’ll just start and go day by day. I got cleared to have contact and skate with the team. We’ll see how it goes the first few days and we’ll increase the workload.”

Letang had five goals and 29 assists in 41 games while battling various injuries last season. Throughout that season, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he would like Letang to adjust his style and avoid unnecessary hits.

If it’s up to Letang, nothing will change. He plans to average over 25 minutes per game again in 2017-18.

“(Playing at least 25 minutes is) what I want to do,” Letang said. “That’s part of my game, the way I play. So, obviously, it’s the goal. I have no expectation. I’m just going to go like I always did and go from there.

“There’s certain things to avoid, that’s for sure. But it’s not going to change my game. … I’m healthy. That’s the only thing I know. So, I don’t know why I would rest. The energy is going to be there, for sure.”

Letang hasn’t played since Feb. 2, when he had one assist in 28:49 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Penguins announced April 5 that Letang would miss 4 to 6 months after undergoing neck surgery. The surgery was successful, albeit slightly frightening for Pittsburgh’s defensive leader.

“When I woke up, it was hard,” Letang said. I’m not going to lie. It was a tough first two weeks. A lot goes through your mind, but after that, I got more confidence. When the guys were playing, I was actually able to work out, do little things. I got my confidence back then that I was going to be healthy.”

Notable playoff performances on NBCSN: Kane’s hat trick tops Kings

Leave a comment

Hockey Week in America continues Friday with some big-time individual playoff performances.

The Western Conference foes dueled to a Game 7 that went into double overtime. Dallas relied on St. Louis native Ben Bishop and his 52 saves, the 5th-most saves in a Game 7 in history, to nearly defeat the Blues, but St. Louis prevailed 2-1, on the way to their historic 2019 Stanley Cup run.

Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire called the action from Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo.

You can catch Kane’s Game 5 hat trick Friday on NBCSN beginning at 12 a.m. ET or watch the stream here.

FRIDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE:
• Kane’s hat trick: Kings vs. Blackhawks (2013 Western Conference Final) – 12 a.m. ET

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Notable playoff performances on NBCSN: Bishop, Maroon shine in Game 7

Leave a comment

Hockey Week in America continues Friday with some big-time individual playoff performances.

In a double-overtime thriller between these two Western Conference contenders, Patrick Kane and his series-clinching hat trick propelled Chicago to a 4-3 victory. In the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins to capture the 2013 championship.

The late, great Dave Strader, Darren Pang, and Brian Engblom had the call from United Center in Chicago, Ill.

You can catch Bishop’s 52-save performance and other memorable individual playoff memories Friday on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

FRIDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE:
• Bishop’s 52-save effort: Stars vs. Blues (Round 2, Game 7, 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET
• Kane’s hat trick: Kings vs. Blackhawks (2013 Western Conference Final) – 12 a.m. ET

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Notable playoff performances on NBCSN: Tavares leads Isles into Round 2

Leave a comment

Hockey Week in America continues Friday with some big-time individual playoff performances.

Trailing by one with less than a minute remaining in regulation with the extra attacker on the ice, Islanders captain John Tavares scored to tie the game at one to force overtime. In the second overtime period, Tavares scored the game-winner, leading the Islanders to a playoff series win in 2016 for the first time in 23 years.

Chris Cuthbert and Ray Ferraro called the matchup from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

You can catch Tavares’ two-goal night and other memorable individual playoff performances Friday on NBCSN beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

FRIDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE:
• Tavares’ big night: Panthers vs. Islanders (Round 1, Game 6, 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET
• Bishop’s 52-save effort: Stars vs. Blues (Round 2, Game 7, 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET
• Kane’s hat trick: Kings vs. Blackhawks (2013 Western Conference Final) – 12 a.m. ET

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Blues broadcaster ‘symptom free’ after self-quarantine

Longtime St. Louis Blues broadcaster John Kelly, jr. during the St. Louis Blues victory parade
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The quarantine strategy medical professionals have urged society to use have proved effective once again.

John Kelly, a broadcaster for the St. Louis Blues, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is now symptom free after being self-quarantined for 14 days.

The St. Louis Blues released the following statement earlier Friday.

The St. Louis Blues are confirming that play-by-play announcer John Kelly has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

John has been in self-quarantine since March 13. We are thrilled to report that John is now feeling strong and symptom free.

The health and safety of the entire Blues family remains our core focus during these unprecedented times. We wish John well as he continues his recovery at home.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.