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Pittsburgh Penguins Provide Update On Kris Letang After Announcing He’s Out Indefinitely After Suffering A Stroke

The Pittsburgh Penguins provided an update on their star defenseman Kris Letang after announcing he would be out indefinitely after suffering a stroke.

The Pittsburgh Penguins provided an update on their star defenseman Kris Letang after announcing he would be out indefinitely after suffering a stroke.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang Photo Credit: Michael Miller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

On November 30th the Penguins announced that Letang suffered a stroke on Monday and he would be out indefinitely.

They also noted in that statement that he was “not experiencing any lasting effects of the stroke and will continue to undergo a series of tests over the next week.”

Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby face off against the Washington Capitals on February 2, 2020 Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ron Hextall stated, “Kris reported symptoms to the training staff on Monday and was immediately taken to the hospital for testing.”

He added, “The test results were shocking to hear, but we are grateful that Kris is doing well. We are thankful to the medical staff and the physicians at UPMC. He is a warrior on the ice, but first and foremost, he is a son, father, husband and friend. His health is our number one priority.”

Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Kris Letang. Photo Credit: Michael Miller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Letang noted, “I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right.”

“While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness,” he added. “It is important for me that my teammates, family and the fans know that I am okay. I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

Kristopher Letang with the Pittsburgh Penguins during a game on February 28, 2008. Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dan4th/, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

In an update shared later in the day on November 30th, the team provided further details on the stroke. They noted, “Kris Letan called head  athletic trainer Chris Stewart, saying he had a migraine and that something didn’t feel right. After he reported those symptoms, head team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas said to take the defenseman to the hospital immediately.”

The Penguins continued, “After getting some tests done, it was determined that Letang had suffered a stroke. He is not experiencing any lasting effects, and will continue to undergo a series of tests over the next week. The condition is not considered to be career-threatening.”

Kris Letang (right) with the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside forward Jake Guentzel celebrate after winning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Nashville Predators on June 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Michael Miller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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This isn’t the first time Letang has suffered a stroke. He previously suffered one back in 2014 that resulted in him missing over two months. It was discovered that the cause of the stroke was a small hole in the wall of his heart.

The Penguins revealed that this most recent stroke “is much less severe than the one Letang suffered eight years ago.”

Hextall explained, “This was much less severe than what happened to him eight years ago, and I think there’s a lot of comfort in that for him.”

Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Kris Letang. Photo Credit: Michael Miller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan indicated that Letang wanted to get back on the ice and begin skating.

“We’re all hopeful here that he’s going to be okay, and that he can continue to play and help us win,” Sullivan said. “The biggest challenge for me today was to try to find a way to keep him off the ice. He wanted to skate today. That’s just an indication of Tanger’s passion to play and wanting to get back with his team.”

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Hextall echoed Sullivan’s comments while also sharing how much Letang means to the Penguins not only as a player, but as a person.

He said, “The level of hockey he’s played, for as long as he’s played, is absolutely incredible. The level he’s continued to play at, at his age, the type of shape he’s in… I’ve been here for less than two years, and I know I know how much I realize already how much he means to this organization, this city and how much he means to his teammates. He’s a warrior.”

Hextall concluded, “He was talking last night about, ‘when can I skate?’  He’s a terrific human being, and he’s one tough S.O.B.”

Letang has played his entire NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins beginning in the 2006-2007 season. He’s played in a total of 962 games, scored 145 goals and racked up 517 assists for a total of 662 points.

His assist total is a franchise record for the Penguins for a defenseman, a record he broke in 2018 when he potted his 441st assist against the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-1 loss. He also holds the record for most goals scored by a Penguin defenseman. He set that record in 2019 in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers surpassing Paul Coffey.

Letang also scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals against Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks.

President Barack Obama lifts the Stanley Cup trophy during the East Room ceremony for the 2009 Stanley Cup NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Sept. 10, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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The Penguins are currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 11-8-4. If the playoffs began today they would be sitting in the last wild card spot.

Letang is a huge part of the Penguins and they will definitely miss his services.

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