The Pittsburgh Penguins have been playing so well this season that it’s easy to forget that they’ve been without their best offensive defenseman in Kris Letang. The team offered a brief and somewhat vague injury update via twitter this evening, and while a return doesn’t seem imminent, the time table does appear to be narrowing a bit.
Bylsma said Kris Letang is “close” to a return, but they have to make sure he is at 100 percent before he plays. Not going to rush him back.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 20, 2013
Letang is capable of putting up a pretty ridiculous pace on offense from the back end and is one of the best puck moves in the NHL when healthy. That’s been the key phrase for Letang throughout his career though, as he’s had issues staying off of the IR. He didn’t even make it through a preseason game before aggravating a prior condition, forcing him out of Pittsburgh’s first eight games.
The Pens have gone 7-1 in his absence though and Sidney Crosby is still scoring at a ridiculous pace though, so there really is no reason for Letang to be rushed back out onto the ice. Pittsburgh is in this for the long haul, and want him back and at 100% before the playoffs, not for the ninth game of the 82-game season.
On Monday the Penguins will play the white-hot Colorado Avalanche, but won’t play again until October 25 against the New York Islanders. There will likely be at least one more update heading into the game against New York, and Letang could be ready to suit up by then.