Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Closing time for 58

KRIS LETANG On if his hip injury will rule him out of Worlds: Yeah. Different injury, but the hip was an issue all year. We’ve been talking to the doctor and I think the best thing to do right now is to rest it. On if any surgery will be needed: We’re still talking with the doctor. So nothing yet. On when the hip injury happened: It’s been a few years. This year, it’s been a little struggle. That’s why last year, I didn’t go there either. This year, it’s been bothering me a little bit more. On dealing with various injuries all season: It was a tough season. The injuries, everything. It was tough to come back and get another one and having trouble like that. At the end of the day, I think the regular season was good for most of the guys in the dressing room. It’s too bad we ended our season the way we did. On the coach and GM taking responsibility for the exit: I think it’s the team. That includes everybody. From the coach, from every player, I think we’re a group. If we win, we win as a group. If we lose, we lose as a group. I think that’s the key. That’s always been the team. We didn’t play the way we were supposed to play and that’s the reason why we’re not playing right now. On if he’d like to see this team get another shot: If you look at our team, from every individual, we are a really good team. A special group, a great group of guys. I think we had a chance to do something special this year and kind of ruined it in the first round. I wish I could see the same faces next year. On what he needs to do this summer to take his game to the next level: I think emotionally, I can be more in control at times. I think I have to be more mature every year. I think I can improve in every aspect of the game. Offensively, defensively. I think I made strides this year despite the injuries. There’s always room for improvement. On if potential hip surgery is a big concern: No. Not at all. It’s not a major injury. It’s something, though, that can change your game and bother somebody who likes to skate like I do. It was just from a pain standpoint, being able to play with it. On why he’s confident that this group can do something special: Just knowing what we did this season with all the injuries and everything that happened to our team, it’s a good group of guys. I think everybody is tight. We’re good at every position. It’s just a question of putting everything together in the playoffs and being successful. Pretty confident with all the guys we have in the dressing room. On early exits being a wakeup call: It’s a good slap in the face. I can say it like that. Every time we come to training camp, the expectation is not to get in the playoffs. It’s to win the Stanley Cup. We have the group of guys that are able to make that happen. I think next year, when we come to training camp, it’s going to have to be our goal.

Kris Letang's Closing Time 2012 interview

Friday, April 13, 2012

Alyonka Larionov posted this so I just had to share!

Dec 31, 1969 | Source: Keek.com

Source: http://www.keek.com/!HsGbaab#HsGbaab

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Defenseman Letang is Penguins' unsung star

PITTSBURGH - For the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player - more than any other - is vital to their on-ice success against the Flyers. He is a 24-year-old Canadian with a sparkling resumé that includes a Stanley Cup, multiple All-Star appearances and statistics that stack up with the best in his position in the NHL. He missed a significant chunk of this season with postconcussion symptoms. He returned for a bit, dazzled to pull the Penguins out of a funk, and then was forced to sit out again later because of fogginess. His team struggled mightily without him. His name is not Sidney Crosby. In fact, many think the Penguins learned how to win without Crosby, who missed 107 games over the last two seasons and five against the Flyers alone. Instead, it's a lot tougher to explain Pittsburgh's marginal 18-13-0 record without Kris Letang this season. The Penguins' two-pronged attack of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin deservedly garners the spotlight on a nightly basis. Quietly, some think Pittsburgh will go only as far as Letang - their horse on the back end - will take them in the playoffs. "When he's out, we miss him, there's no question about that," Penguins forward Arron Asham said. "He's just as talented as any one of those guys [pointing around the locker room]." To say the least, it was a tough season for Letang. Injuries are the only thing that have kept him out of the Norris Trophy race as the league's top defenseman. Even with the concussion and knee injury, which caused him to miss 31 games, Letang was nearly a point-per-game player, with 42 in 51 contests. He finished second among defensemen in points-per-game to Ottawa's Erik Karlsson. Letang has 21 points in 28 career games against the Flyers. But to single out Letang as simply an offensive dynamo would be to shortchange him. "I've really seen his overall game develop," Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden said on Saturday. "We have quite a bit of depth, both here and in [AHL] Wilkes-Barre, but none have the unique package that he does. "He's a unique package of being able to add in the offensive zone, whether it's on the power play, or just getting a shot through most of the time. Then he's able to be able to defend with his feet. His pride with defending has changed quite a bit. "His feet are great. His stick-on-puck is arguably one of the best in the league. When it comes time for him to play physical, he's got a great center of gravity down low. He can win battles down low against bigger, power forwards, and that's something that goes unnoticed." Reirden, the former NHL player who heads the Penguins' defense under Dan Bylsma, said Letang's game has changed thanks to a daily video session that has quickly become a tradition. Letang and Reirden review game film together "for at least an hour" daily. Even though plus/minus is a flawed hockey statistic, Letang finished this, his fifth full season, as a plus-21 playing against each opponent's top line nightly. "The video has allowed him to slow the game down," Reirden said. "He's studied how to make himself better. Then he watches the top defensemen around the league." Asham said Letang will "skate you into the ground." Letang averaged 24:50 in ice time this season, which Reirden said is "just a normal game for him." For the Penguins, any sense of normalcy is fleeting when Letang's familiar No. 58 is not meandering the blue line. Pittsburgh lost six straight from Dec. 29 through Jan. 11. Letang returned on Jan. 19 and, not surprisingly, the Penguins went on to win five consecutive games; they had another 11-game streak from late February to mid-March. "We saw our numbers on the power play drop quite a bit without him," Reirden said. "The minutes he can play are effortless. He takes a lot of pressure off our other guys." Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20120410_Defenseman_Letang_is_Penguins__unsung_star.html#ixzz1rff2deXN

4/10/2012 - Kris Letang and his hair...on a TSN feature

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Article about Kris

Kris Letang Is Pittsburgh Penguins' Most Important Player Going into Playoffs While Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby may be the best players on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang is easily the most important. Letang is currently day-to-day with a lower body injury, and the Penguins have lost two of three without him in the lineup. Both losses came against the lowly New York Islanders, and their one win was a nailbiter. With Letang in the lineup, the Penguins are 30-11-6 this season. Without him, they're 18-13-0. The Penguins did go 5-0 with Letang out of the lineup in early March, but the whole team was clicking at the time and it was during their 11-game winning streak. Take that out and they're just a .500 team without Letang. It's also important to mention that three of the five wins that came without Letang during that stretch were one-goal wins. The point is, the Penguins can win a few games without Malkin or Crosby, but they can't win without Letang in the playoffs. He's such a vital piece to the roster and he flies under the radar compared to Crosby and Malkin. There's a reason why the Penguins were able to host a playoff series last season and record the second-highest point total in franchise history without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Letang was healthy all of last season, and he was a major reason why Pittsburgh was successful. The way he brings the puck up the neutral zone is reminiscent of Sergei Gonchar from his glory days with the Pens. There's no doubt Letang learned a few things from the former Pens defenseman, and it's showing. He's one of the best puck possession guys in the league and because of this, he helps facilitate the offense for the Pens. He's somewhat like a point guard in basketball. His presence helps elevate the entire Penguins offense. Without him, they look lost sometimes. He also quarterbacks the powerplay better than anyone else. When Letang is not in the lineup, the Penguins become an easier team to play against on both even-strength and special teams situations. The following table exemplifies the previous notions from above regarding Letang's value to the Pens. Letang's Value PP% Goals per Game Goal Differential Record With Letang 19.8% 3.46 +40 30-11-6 Without Letang 18.4% 2.97 +10 18-13-0 Notice that the Penguins score less and are worse on the power play without Letang. Their goal differential is also significantly higher with Letang in the lineup. Let's not forget, the dude is still a defenseman. His contributions don't stop on the offensive end of the ice. He's a major part of the defense, too. The more games he's put under his belt, the better Letang has gotten in the backchecking department. Obviously they are still a pretty solid team without Letang because of their high-octane offense and Marc-Andre Fleury in net. However, in the playoffs, they're going to be playing against the toughest opponents in the league. Having Letang will be crucial for the Penguins success. It's interesting because he's often placed behind Crosby, Malkin and perhaps even James Neal and Jordan Staal, when it comes to the most important skater for the Pens. It might be one of the biggest misconceptions regarding the Pens this season. Letang is huge and the Pens won't get past the first round without him, especially if they play Philadelphia. Dan Bylsma and the Penguins coaching staff know this and they hope he'll be back and healthy as ever for the playoffs. Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1127110-pittsburgh-penguins-kris-letang-is-most-important-player-going-into-playoffs?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=pittsburgh-penguins