The Pittsburgh Penguins defensive core received two golden nuggets of news today as general manager Ray Shero decided the club will keep Olli Maatta and the return of Kris Letang will probably be Friday against the New York Islanders. There was a bit of bad news as Beau Bennett was placed on IR retroactive to October 12th, but let's focus on the positive, huh?
On keeping Maatta, Ray Shero said, "Based on his play, we believe this is the best decision for Olli and the Penguins. We want to thank Mark and Dale Hunter and the London Knights for their patience and understanding."
Olli Maatta staying with the Penguins isn't just a good decision. It's a great one. In nine games the young Finn as proven himself a NHL-ready talent with his quick skating and smart decision-making. He'll most likely find Robert Bortuzzo as his new linemate going forward and the duo should be a solid third pairing. Maatta can still be given back to the London Knights at anytime this year. If he is, however, than he cannot come back to the Penguins. #MaattaWaattch V.2 may be coming shortly.
Maatta staying is great. Kris Letang returning is awesome sauce on a open-face excellence sandwich (overtstating much?). For the second straight day, Letang was a full participate in practice. He was paired with Rob Scuderi and worked alongside Paul Martin with the Penguins top powerplay unit. Letang has not seen a NHL game this season because of a lower-body injury that landed him on the IR.
Of his return, Letang said, "I felt pretty good. That was the main concern — try to feel 100 percent and try to make sure I don’t take any chances coming back.”
Head coach Dan Byslma said, "As we've seen in practice this week, (Wednesday) and (Thursday). Kris Letang has moved into situations and a pairing that we will most likely see him in the game (Friday) with.
Byslma did mention the return will be a careful one, saying, "There is talk when you return a player to the lineup of protecting their minutes. Kris in the past is not a guy you go in and say, ‘You’re going to play 16 minutes or 18 minutes,’ and protect his minutes. He has not played, and I don’t think we can give him a full complement of minutes when he gets there, but he can skate so well, it’s really not much of a big issue for him.”
Ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour . . . it doesn't matter how much Letang plays. It matters that he is playing. His presence on the ice makes the Penguins even better than their 7-2 record. It's a dream for Pittsburgh and a complete nightmare for the twenty-eight (one city has two) other NHL cities. And think about this; James Neal hasn't come back yet.
Wake up, New York. You're first up.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Will the Clock Strike Midnight for Olli Maatta?
- Are the Pittsburgh Penguins Handling Kris Letang with Kid Gloves?
- Pittsburgh Beats Chicago 3-2 in Shootout Behind Zatkoff’s Strong Debut
- Will the Pittsburgh Penguins Ever Play Kris Letang at Forward?
- Kris Letang Skating Again, but Still No Timetable for Return
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/12y1