Jan 5, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) skates up ice against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kris Letang cleared to practice after sustaining stroke


Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been out of action since he suffered a stroke on Jan. 29, but one of the Norris trophy finalists from a year ago is nearing a return to the ice after doctors also discovered a small hole in his heart.

Letang, 26, was taken off his blood thinner medication and was cleared to return to practice with the Metropolitan division leading Penguins on Monday.

“He still has some other things to go through (before returning to game action),” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, “but we knew that this was the six-week mark (since the stroke diagnosis) and there was a chance. He’s been working out, he’s been skating and doing quite a bit on his own.”

Letang was not allowed to skate for more than a month after suffering his stroke but in the past week picked up the intensity of his skating.

With 15 games remaining on the schedule for the Penguins it looks as if Letang could be back in game action before the end of the regular season or at least give the team a boost when the postseason begins.

Letang has 10 goals and eight assists in 34 games this season.

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