Kris Letang was expected to be out of play indefinitely; at least through the playoff season. After sustaining a stroke in January, he is regaining his composure and playing strong; ready to see ice-time in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
His play since returning has been criticized to some extent. Letang currently only has one goal throughout the first round series. Fatigue is to be expected after a health incident such as a stroke. The fact that he is playing at the moment is amazing enough. All NHL players see a period of drag time once coming back to the ice after an injury. Letang is no exception.
Whether his mediocre play was due to his injury or line changes can be argued. He began the series playing with his usual partner, Rob Scuderi. He was then swapped to play alongside Paul Martin. Once that change was made, he was playing a different game.
Coach Dan Bylsma, however, states the entire team played better in the later games:
“Kris, much like our team, his best games were 5 and 6 for our group, without a question. It did coincide with him getting paired with Paul Martin. We had matchups going into that game, but getting in that pair and being a shutdown pair with Paul, I think elevated his game.”
Either way, Letang is back and as ready as ever to face the next playoff round.