Kris Letang suffers stroke, out indefinitely for Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, got jarring news Wednesday when it was discovered that top defenseman Kris Letang had a stroke.

The team announced that the 35-year-old veteran is not experiencing any lasting effects but will undergo a series of tests over the next week.

It is not believed to be a career-threatening condition for the three-time Stanley Cup champion, the franchise’s all-time leader in games, goals, assists and points by a defenseman.

Kris Letang out indefinitely after stroke

Pittsburgh Penguins Kris Letang
Nov 2, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Tage Thompson (72) defends as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) dives to clear the puck during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Letang, who will be out indefinitely for further tests and to allow a medical plan to be devised, missed Tuesday’s Penguins game because he was not feeling well. General manager Ron Hextall said the stroke happened on Monday.

“Kris reported symptoms to the training staff on Monday and was immediately taken to the hospital for testing,” general manager Ron Hextall said in a news release. “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 UMPC. 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.”

Letang missed more than two months in 2014 following a stroke. Tests at the time revealed he was born with a tiny hole in the wall of his heart.

He has played 543 games in the regular season and 69 more in the playoffs since that initial diagnosis.

“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. 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.”

Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games this season. He leads the team in time on ice with 23:54.

The Montreal native has played his entire 17-year career with Pittsburgh, recording 662 points (145 goals, 517 assists) in 962 games. He won Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017 and trails only longtime teammates Sidney Crosby (1,131) and Evgeni Malkin (1,004) in games played for the franchise.

–Field Level Media

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