Monday, November 29, 2010

Letang scores his 5th goal of the season

Crosby to Letang
Sidney Crosby shows off some pretty passing as he feeds Kris Letang for a picture perfect one-timer

Game Day Interview 11/29/10

Thursday, November 25, 2010

April 24, 2010 - Kris Letang interview

April 24, 2010 - Kris Letang interview



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All Star Voting

Penguins Crosby Tops All Vote-Getters In First Week Of All-Star Fan Balloting

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led all National Hockey League players with 118,755 votes during the first week of voting in 2011 NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, presented by XM.

Crosby, who has been voted a starter in each of the past three All-Star Games (2007, ’08 and ’09), leads second-place Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks by 35,787 votes.

In addition to Crosby, seven other Penguins received votes during the opening week of voting.

Defenseman Kris Letang, whose 19 points rank third among NHL defensemen, has received the eighth-most votes (50,153) among blueliners as a write-in candidate. Letang has earned the third-most write-in votes.

Forward Evgeni Malkin (56,255, 8th), who ranks among the league’s top-25 scorers, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (44,111, 5th) both rank among the top-10 vote-getters at their respective positions.

Also receiving votes during the opening week were forward Max Talbot (5,144) and defensemen Paul Martin (27,970), Brooks Orpik (7,736) and Alex Goligoski (3,388).

For the fourth straight NHL® All-Star Game, the balloting process is entirely digital, offering sports’ most tech-savvy fans the ability to vote as often as they like via mobile devices and online at and Facebook (

Through Jan. 3, NHL fans will be able to select up to six players by position - three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender – without regard to the Conference in which their teams play for in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover in Raleigh, N.C.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Letang Scores

Kris Letang scored his 4th goal of the season tonight against the Florida Panthers!!!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vote for Letang to be an NHL All Star for 2011 in Raleigh, NC


Over The Boards: Letang For All-Star

Good news for anyone who is still hung over from the mid-term elections, the NHL All-Star ballots are out and the voting has begun. As expected, the usual cast of characters is represented on the ballots including Sid and Geno for the Penguins. But as usual, there are several players on the list that are only there because of their name and not because of their performance. And naturally, that means there are too many players that are having a great year not on the ballot. Let’s hear it for the write-in vote!

There are numerous fan sites throughout the NHL starting campaigns to get their chosen player the write-in vote. Thanks to the guys over at The Confluence, there is already a groundswelling to get Kris Letang to the All-Star game. Often, these write-in players are good, but not deserving to get to the All-Star game ahead of the guys on the ballot, but Tanger is definitely an exception.

Letang is easily having the best season of his career and is quickly becoming the best defenseman on the Penguins. He is currently tied for second on the team in points with Malkin and is tied with Gologoski for the best plus/minus. But that is just his standing on the team. Tanger is also tied for second with Nicklas Lidstom for points among defensemen in the NHL.

But that is just how he looks on paper. On the ice he has been even more impressive and Wednesday’s game against the Canucks was a perfect example. Letang was all over the ice against the Canucks and was integral in limiting their potent offense to only one goal. It seemed like every time there was a crucial defensive play in the Pens zone, Letang was a part of it. He prevented at least two goals in front of Fleury and had the Pens transition game as dangerous as it used to be.

And that game was not a one-time occurrence. Letang has been a leader on defence all season for the Penguins and has been a great contributor on offense as well. After Sergei Gonchar left during the summer, the big question was who would replace him as the defensive leader on the team. A lot of people looked to our newly acquired veterans, but it looks to me that Letang has decided it should be him. So far this season, I agree.

So I am here today to urge you to get out and vote. The All-Star game is still a point of pride among NHL players and it is important to all of us that the most deserving players are their to represent the league. Way too often in professional sports All-Stars are chosen because they have been a fan favorite for many years and that’s who the casual fan knows. If Derek Jeter is having a bad season, I know all of the Yankee crazies are still voting for him. And for all of the people that don’t watch baseball closely, they will vote for him because they recognize the name.

The All-Star game is supposed to be about rewarding those players having great seasons for their contributions, not a reason to gather all of the high profile players. So when you are going through the ballot, don’t just pick your favorite player by name. Take the time to check out their stats and see just how good they are this year because there is a good chance someone else has been playing better.

Oh yeah, and vote Letang!

Let’s Go Pens!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NHL Rising Stars: Top 10 Late Bloomers

1: Kris Letang

Topping the list is youngster Kris Letang.

When I included Alex Goligoski on my lists of top rising stars, many people asked about Letang. Ask no more as he is easily one of the best things about the Penguins lineup. Letang is currently the league's highest-scoring defenseman with 17 points in 19 games.

It seems like Goligoski wasn't the only player to benefit from Sergei Gonchar's departure. Pittsburgh saved a bunch of cash that was better spent elsewhere.

Letang is finally living up to his potential and should be a mainstay on the Pens back end for years to come.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Game Day Interview with Letang 11-15-10

New Article about Letang

Letang developing into top defenseman
Not everyone has realized yet that defenseman Kris Letang is developing into one of the league's best

Some people were upset when Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was left off the NHL's all-star ballot.

Others were surprised.

Or flat-out perplexed.

Not Letang, though.

It's not just that he didn't care. He didn't even know.

Turns out that even though the league released the 100-player ballot last Friday, Letang didn't learn about it until a reporter mentioned it a few hours before the Penguins' 4-2 victory at Atlanta the next night.

"I don't really pay attention to those things," he said, shrugging.

Nothing wrong with that. The interesting part is that people in the NHL's Hockey Operations department, who selected the players on the ballot, apparently haven't been paying attention to Letang.

There is, of course, no shortage of qualified candidates for those spots, and a case could be made for any number of players to be added to -- or dropped from -- the ballot.

But going into last night's games, none of the 29 defensemen who are on the ballot had more points than Letang's 17 and only one -- Hall-of-Famer-in-waiting Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit -- had matched his output.

Two other numbers of note: Just four of Letang's points have come on the power play, and he has a plus-minus rating of plus-9, better than all but six NHL defensemen.

Both of those stats underscore that Letang is not a one-dimensional point-producer.

That's significant, because his offensive talents were evident before the Penguins claimed him in the third round of the 2005 entry draft.

It's the evolution of Letang's defensive game that has earned him a place in this team's core.

Assistant coach Todd Reirden, who works with the defensemen, said Letang's overall game "is really coming together," which, Letang said, has always been his objective.

"I want to be a two-way player," he said. "I don't want to be seen just as an offensive guy who is able to play on the power play and do those types of things.

"I want to be a guy who hits hard and is tough to play against in my zone. Make sure that all forwards have to pay the price if they want to have a good scoring chance in our zone."

He does that often enough that Reirden paired him with Brooks Orpik and matched those two against Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Martin St. Louis line during the Penguins' 5-1 victory Friday at Consol Energy Center.

Mind you, the process of becoming a presence at both ends is not seamless, and Letang experienced a couple of major hiccups during Saturday's game in Atlanta.

Like when Andrew Ladd of the Thrashers put the puck between his legs to create a quality short-handed scoring opportunity early in the game, and when Letang turned the puck over to Bryan Little with just over four minutes left in regulation, giving Atlanta a chance to score a goal that would have tied the score.

If Letang needed a reminder of just how little margin for error there is at his position -- and just how much he can upgrade his body of work -- the Thrashers game provided it.

"I want to be known as a top player, but it's going to take time and it's going to take work," he said. "I'm going to have to improve."

Setbacks are to be expected, however. Letang, at 23, is very much a work-in-progress, and figures to be for quite a few more seasons.

"He's certainly not a finished product, by any means," Reirden said.

Some refinements are beginning to show, however.

Despite playing with a right hand that has been injured repeatedly, Letang is getting the puck on goal more consistently than he did even a year ago.

In 2009-10, he had 2.4 shots per game, but missed the net an average of 1.3 times. This season, he has averaged 2.2 shots, and shooting high or wide just once per game.

That reflects his enhanced ability to read and anticipate plays, to know what he's going to do with the puck -- and where he's going to go to do it -- before it touches his stick.

"His ability to skate and get shots through is something we've spent a lot of time working on, video-wise, and before practices," Reirden said. "He certainly has done a great job of that."

Quite a few other things, too. Not everyone in the league seems to be aware of it just yet, but they'll catch on eventually. Especially if Letang comes close to fully realizing his potential.

"There's a lot of room for improvement with Kris," Reirden said. "That's the exciting part."


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New video about Letang

Kris has lots to say in this article even though its not totally about him

Penguins' Martin finds place in new system

The Penguins spent about half of practice Tuesday at Southpointe holding a scrimmage that emphasized the fundamentals of their system and encouraged the forwards to dump or chip the puck into the offensive zone.

It was a chance for a refresher, but one newcomer to the system this season already was feeling pretty comfortable.

"He's been great," defenseman Kris Letang said of his partner of late, Paul Martin. "He fits in really well with the system because he's a guy who goes back for pucks, makes plays.

"He's a patient guy with the puck, always a good pass."

Martin, a two-way defenseman who played New Jersey's defense-oriented style, signed with the Penguins as a free agent in July after Sergei Gonchar signed with Ottawa.

Like Gonchar, Martin plays a heads-up, deliberate game, but not a slow one. He brings a sense of calm among chaos on the ice. He can play the point on the power play, although he is on the second unit right now.

"They're two guys that aren't moving a lot," Letang said. "They are reading the play, moving the puck. In that way, they are similar."

But Martin is not Gonchar reincarnate. He doesn't have to be to fit in nicely as a top-four defenseman.

He's one of just three defensemen who has played all 15 games for the Penguins going into their game tonight against Boston, averages a team-high 24 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time and is overcoming what was a tough transition from the way the Devils play.

"I think at the beginning, it kind of was," Martin said. "And as a team we were still trying to find our identity and having a tough time sometimes. I think we've been learning that what makes it successful is not always the flashy things, just getting the puck up ice and getting it to our forwards and trying to get it in the [offensive] zone.

"I'm learning. We're learning. It's been an adjustment over these first 15 games, but I think we're going in the right direction now."

Coach Dan Bylsma attributes that to a more fine-tuned defense.

"There is an adjustment, but even in the last three games from our defensemen as a whole ... making sense out of how we want to play is a big part of the execution of it," he said. "Anybody can talk about the X's and O's. They're not new to anyone, but the concept of how we want to play and how we have to execute and where the puck has to go for that to happen is something that Paul and [fellow newcomer Zbyneck Michalek] and some of our other defensemen are just now doing, making the step to getting that puck in the [right] area.

"It needs to be at the right time so that we can play the way we want to play with the speed, with the support we want to play with."

Being paired with Letang means Martin, 29, often has to be the stay-at-home half a little more because Letang, 23, seems to be blossoming into the kind of potent offensive defenseman the Penguins have projected all along.

"Early in the year, I think I was up the ice a little more, just because I just got here and was just going," Martin said. "I think now we've started to try to -- I don't want to say take turns, but feed off of each other and realize if he's up the ice, someone has to be back. Lately, he's been up a lot. We can't have both of us up there."

Martin doesn't mind being that half of the equation.

"For me to play with him has been fun," he said of Letang. "He likes to skate and move, and he's all over the ice, making plays -- which he should be because he helps create opportunities for our team and he's got a great shot."

Partnering with Letang has not stifled Martin's productivity.

He has just one goal, but with eight points in 15 games he is on pace for a career-high 43 points.

So much for a difficult adjustment with the Penguins.

"Here it's definitely a little bit more aggressive all over the ice, but as far as getting the puck up, there's still the timing factor," Martin said.

He has learned that sometimes, rather than passing to your partner, defensemen in this system can make a breakout pass even when a forward seems to be covered because the Penguins' skilled forwards can get behind the defense. What usually would be an ill-advised or dangerous pass can be a good play with this team.

What has been a little more difficult, Martin said, is the adjustment all new Penguins players face -- navigating Pittsburgh.

"All the bridges and bypasses ... I'm starting to learn my way around to places I need to go," said Martin, who is abandoning the hotel life to move into a rented home.

The Penguins' system isn't so tough by comparison.

"He's really comfortable with it," Letang said. "I think when he's 100 percent comfortable with it, he's going to be an unbelievable player."


New Pics of Letang from the Pens Official Site

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Article about Tanger

Pittsburgh Penguins: Kris Letang Becoming a Top-Notch Defenseman

Gone are the questions of when Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will step up his game and play to his full potential, because the start of the 2010-2011 NHL season has this young Penguin playing some top-notch hockey.

For a player who was touted as a future Paul Coffey after being drafted 62nd overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, Letang's NHL career started slowly and unstable.

He was notorious for asking too many questions about his game in the locker room. But, despite his clear lack of confidence in his play, Letang was showing the qualities of a future star.

23-year-old Letang plays a solid defensive game by integrating good instincts with swift puck moments that can send it from the defensive to offensive zone in a matter of seconds. Recently, an element of physicality has become present here as well.

On the flip-side, Letang also demonstrates a natural offensive prowess that sees him following the puck on a counter-attack and becoming a legitimate threat to the opposition.

This is all tied together with Letang's strongest skill as a defenseman: His wonderful ability to skate. Letang is a smooth as they come on his skates, which contributes greatly to his speed and ability to move the puck north-south with ease and fluidity.

However, these moments of greatness seen in Letang's game weren't always present in his earlier seasons in the NHL. Expectations remained high despite his previous struggles, but it's important to keep in mind that defensemen in the NHL require a longer time to develop both physically AND emotionally.

Each offseason, Letang would train and strengthen his body to prepare for the upcoming season. However, nothing seemed to change Letang emotionally more than the death of his best friend and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon.

His death during the 2008 Stanley Cup Final became Letang's inspiration during the following season that saw him not only play an extraordinary tournament, but also win hockey's greatest trophy.

An on-ice interview with Letang following the Pens' Stanley Cup win was all the proof necessary that he won that cup for Bourdon.

Letang struggled the following season, netting only a total of three goals and 27 points. His biggest problems included an inability to hit the net and some costly defensive gaffes. Certainly not a good way to close off a contract year, and the speculation began: Should GM Ray Shero trade Letang for greater talent?

The answer was ultimately "no" and Letang signed a five-year contract worth $3.5 million a season. He truly had something to prove coming into the 2010-2011 season, especially when defensemen Sergei Gonchar, Mark Eaton and Jay McKee opted to leave the Penguins. This was Shero's way of saying that it was time for him and fellow defenseman Alex Goligoski to step up their game and take charge of the defense.

The season is only a month old, but Letang has already demonstrated how much he has improved his skills on both ends of the ice. He is playing with a very fresh identity that has reawakened Pens and hockey fans of the talent he possesses.

Skating on a line with Paul Martin, another smooth puck-mover with good hands, he and Letang are like two peas in a pod when they play. I feel that has something to do with Letang taking some pointers from Martin. Since the start of the season, Letang has played with an ease and confidence that he did not demonstrate in the past, and it has shown on and off the scoreboard.

Letang is second among defensemen with three goals and 11 points. Last season, it took Letang a full year to score that many goals. In fact, if Letang can keep it up, he will finish the season with some personal record numbers.

Looking beyond the numbers, Letang has added a feistier, more physical element to his game and is now more than willing to drop the mits and hold his own for the most part. He holds the second highest penalty minutes on the team, behind rugged fighter and defenseman Deryk Engelland. After Engelland, only Letang and winger Mike Rupp have scrapped more than once and this doesn't include the times he fought in the preseason.

This willingness to fight tells me that Letang has decided to take on a larger leadership role on the team, something that should come naturally to him since he captained the 2007 World Junior Canadian team to a gold medal. A look back at his hockey career and the obstacles he has overcome cushions the idea that he is a fighter at heart.

Letang's fight for more responsibility on the team is something that should be rewarded, specifically with more time on the power play. Understandably, Alex Goligoski eats up a lot of time on the power play, but Letang has been proving that he's no longer afraid to shoot the puck and can find the twine with much more ease than in the past.

Most notably, Letang's wrist shot has become no laughing matter for the opposition.

Letang is rapidly budding in his new role on the Pens and it has been impressive to watch potential blossom into natural talent the way it has for Letang in the course of this season. He is currently fighting a hand injury, but if Letang can remain healthy this season, there is no doubt that he can put up impressive numbers on the scoreboard as well as make huge leaps in his mental development.

By no means has Letang reached the level of "top-notch" defenseman at this time because he is still growing into his role on the team, but at the pace he is going it's hard to imagine that it isn't possible in the near future.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letang and Johnson

I just love this picture of Kris Letang and Brent Johnson because of the look on Kris Letang's face is PRICELESS!!!

Awesome pic of Letang I found on tumblr

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


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