Letang says break could fill Penguins and NHL gaps


Kris Letang says he doesn’t know what to expect if the NHL regular season resumes.

The Pittsburgh defenseman has not been able to skate since the season ended on March 12 due to concerns about the coronavirus. Along with other players in a similar situation, Letang said that this could have a knock-on effect in the NHL.

“I think everyone will be on the same level,” Letang said on Tuesday. “It’s going to be difficult, but at least you won’t see any difference between the teams because everyone is in the same boat. “

But it might not be positive for all teams, said Letang.

“The longer it lags, obviously, it’s difficult for teams that were playing so well, had so much momentum or would be in the [Stanley Cup] The playoffs must go on because you’ve had such a long break, “said Letang.

The Penguins (40-23-6) lost six straight games in settlement from February 20-29, but won three of their five games in March. They are third in the metropolitan division, four points behind the Washington Capitals and three behind the Philadelphia Flyers.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said on March 31 that he believed the Penguins showed signs of returning to form in a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on March 10. Two days later, the Penguins were preparing to play the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena when the NHL broke the season.

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Letang, who leads the Pittsburgh defenders with 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games, had been following the news for a while before traveling to Columbus. During a road trip to California from February 26-29, he said he started washing his hands more frequently and keeping his distance from others more than he would otherwise.

After last playing more than a month ago, Letang said he did not know how the season should resume. In a March 26 video conference hosted by the NHL, the Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he would be happy to come back with the playoffs.

There is no clear answer, said Letang, as it is unclear how long the break could last. Meanwhile, the triple Stanley Cup champion is using it as an offseason.

“Right now, you need to think of this period as your rest,” Letang said. “That’s how I like to see it, it’s like it’s my summer break right now. I try to build my body, I make sure upon my return that I am completely rested. It’s sort of my approach right now. … I know that everything will condense at the end of this quarantine or this self-isolation. Once we get started, it’s going to be really condensed, so I’m thinking of taking my break now. “

It’s not the same as training under normal circumstances. At the start of a typical offseason, Letang said he usually skates once or twice a week. It is the first time that it has stopped completely for a long time, he said.

“The hard part is that we don’t have access to the gyms or even if you had a place to skate, you don’t have access to these things,” said the 32-year-old. “So you end up with everything you have at home or everything you can do outside. … It can take three weeks to play and train to regain speed.

“It’s going to be difficult the first few training sessions, but we will miss it so much, you would have been at home for so long that you just wanted to go out. This is what we love to do, so it’s going to be great to be back. “

Letang said he’s looking forward to the return of hockey, but that’s not his only goal.

“People’s health is so much more important,” he said. “So that puts everything in perspective. I’ve sort of blocked the will to play hockey right now and I’m just trying to worry about what people are really going through, real difficulties. not like [time with] my family. I just hope everyone is safe. “


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