NHL Injury: Kris Letang skating after stroke, Alex Pietrangelo out indefinitely, and more
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice on Thursday, 10 days after suffering a stroke.
Letang, 35, was on the ice wearing a regular yellow practice jersey.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion suffered the stroke on Nov. 28. He briefly skated last Thursday and did so again in full gear on Tuesday morning before the team began its practice session.
Kris Letang skating after stroke
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.
Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games this season.
He is the franchise’s all-time leader in games (962), goals (145), assists (517) and points (662) by a defenseman. He won Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017 and trails only longtime teammates Sidney Crosby (1,134) and Evgeni Malkin (1,007) in games played for the franchise.
The team hasn’t announced when Letang will return to game action. They face the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday.
Pittsburgh also announced that forward Sam Poulin, currently assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, is taking a leave of absence for personal reasons.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said the organization stands behind Poulin, 21.
“The Penguins support Sam’s decision to take time away from hockey to focus on himself,” Hextall said in a team news release Wednesday. “As with all of our players, our priority is them as individuals first. We look forward to having him back with the team when he is ready.”
The Penguins said Poulin is going home to Quebec and will continue his workouts there.
Pittsburgh selected Poulin with the No. 21 overall selection of the 2019 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 25 and notched an assist. Before returning to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he appeared in three games, averaging just under 10 minutes of ice time.
He has played in 85 games with the AHL club, tallying 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists).
Alex Pietrangelo out indefinitely
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will be away from the team indefinitely because of a family member’s illness.
Pietrangelo already has missed five games, and there is no timetable for his return to the club.
The team said in a statement, “The Vegas Golden Knights wholeheartedly support Alex and the Pietrangelos and ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said Wednesday, “We’re working with Alex and supporting him and, when he’s ready, he’ll come back.”
The Golden Knights will miss Pietrangelo, 32, on both ends of the ice. He is one of the team’s top defensemen, and he also is tied for the club lead with 18 assists and tied for fourth with 21 points.
The three-time All-Star is in his third season with Vegas after 12 seasons with the St. Louis Blues. In 902 career games, Pietrangelo has 132 goals, 406 assists and a plus-108 rating.
The Golden Knights, who had a two-game winning streak snapped with 5-1 loss to the visiting New York Rangers on Wednesday, play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. Vegas leads the Western Conference with 39 points thanks largely to a stellar road record (12-2-1).
Mathieu Joseph out two weeks
Ottawa Senators forward Mathieu Joseph will be out at least two weeks with a lower-body injury, coach D.J. Smith confirmed Friday.
Joseph, 25, was injured in the third period of Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Stars in Dallas. He assisted on a first-period goal by Thomas Chabot.
He has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 25 games this season.
A fourth-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2015, Joseph has 91 points (43 goals, 48 assists) in 257 career games with the Lightning and Senators.
Nathan MacKinnon out 4 weeks
Colorado Avalanche announced forward Nathan MacKinnon is out approximately 4 weeks with an upper-body injury.
The veteran All-Star left the ice during the first period of Monday night’s 5-3 loss at Philadelphia.
“The fact he’s leaving early in the game is not a good sign,” head coach Jared Bednar told Altitude Sports on Tuesday morning. “We know he’s gonna miss some time. Just don’t know how long.”
MacKinnon, 27, appeared to be in discomfort after blocking a shot and taking a hit along the boards from Flyers forward Scott Laughton.
MacKinnon leads Colorado with 34 points (eight goals, league-leading 26 assists) through 23 games this season, his 10th campaign with the Avalanche.
He has posted 682 points (250 goals, 432 assists) in 661 games since Colorado drafted him No. 1 overall in 2013.
–Field Level Media