Posted January 18, 2012 on AP on Fox
Sidney Crosby's return date remains unknown, but the Pittsburgh Penguins found out earlier this week they can expect one of their other key contributors back soon from a concussion. That return may come as soon as Thursday night. Out since late November, defenseman Kris Letang could be back as the Penguins visit Madison Square Garden looking to win their fourth straight overall and also snap a four-game skid against the league-best New York Rangers. Pittsburgh (24-17-4) played just four games with Letang, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin - their three 2011 All-Star skaters - on the ice together after Crosby's Nov. 21 return from a concussion that sidelined him for more than 10 months. The Penguins went 3-0-1 in that stretch and had an NHL-leading 32 points Nov. 26 when Letang was dropped on a hit to the head from Montreal's Max Pacioretty. Four games later, Crosby took a seemingly innocent shot from Boston's David Krejci. Little had been known about the progress of either player until the past few days, as Crosby spoke to the media for the first time in more than a month Friday and Letang returned to practice Tuesday. Crosby has yet to be cleared medically, but Letang - who was tied for the NHL lead among defensemen with 19 points when he went down - has. Coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday there's a chance Letang's first game in nearly two months could come Thursday. "He's progressed with difficult skating on his own to get his conditioning, which he's been able to do," Bylsma told the Penguins' official website. "Getting back with the team, he'll be on the ice with us (Thursday) morning again. We're hopeful he'll be in the (four) remaining games we have left (before the All-Star break)." The four games before the break are challenging, with matchups against surging Washington and St. Louis after the trip to MSG, but Pittsburgh has gotten a boost from Malkin. Tied for 26th in the league with 24 points when Crosby went down, Malkin is now tied for the NHL lead with 52. He has 13 goals and 15 assists in his last 17 games, including the Penguins' lone regulation goal and another in the shootout of a 2-1 victory over Carolina on Tuesday. "He's getting the lion's share of responsibilities right now in a lot of areas and playing outstanding,'' Bylsma said. Malkin was held off the scoresheet and mustered just one shot against Henrik Lundqvist on Jan. 6 when the Rangers (29-11-4) won 3-1 at Consol Energy Center. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner has 15 multipoint games this season, but just one in his last 17 meetings with New York. The Rangers, who yield a league-low 1.98 goals per game, returned to form Tuesday against Nashville. Two days after coach John Tortorella said New York had "no structure defensively" in a 4-1 loss at Montreal, a solid effort helped Lundqvist earn his fourth shutout - a 3-0 victory. "We weren't happy with our game in Montreal at all," right wing Ryan Callahan, who has four goals and five assists during the Rangers' four-game winning streak against Pittsburgh, told the NHL's official website. "I think this whole year, we've responded well after poor performances. "Good teams ... don't let it snowball and turn into two losses or three losses." The Rangers have given up three goals apiece in their last two home wins against the Penguins following a five-game series skid at MSG, but Pittsburgh shouldn't count on much offense Thursday. New York has limited opponents to 12 total goals in its last nine home games. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is 6-8-3 with a 3.37 goals-against average lifetime at MSG.

Penguins D Kris Letang returns to practice

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a concussion in late November. Letang has been cleared to play by team doctors and is optimistic he can suit up sometime before the NHL All-Star game on Jan. 29. He is not expected to play on Tuesday night when the Penguins host Carolina. Letang was playing arguably the...

Kris Letang will play tonight against the Rangers

Kris Letang who has not played since he scored the overtime goal against Montreal back on November 26th, is scheduled to make his return to action tonight.  The Penguins are in New York City ready to take on the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers.   Letang’s return is a great boost to the currently surging Penguins, who have won their last three...

Penguins D Letang returns to practice

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice Tuesday, a major step forward in his recovery from concussion symptoms.Letang hasn't played since taking an elbow to the head from Montreal's Max Pacioretty late in a 4-3 victory over the Canadiens back on Nov. 26.The Penguins are 9-11-0 in his absence, slipping into eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings...

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting Letang, walla walla bing bang

Kris Letang had what I would call a triumphant return from concussion.  After missing 21 games, Letang played over 24 minutes with an Assist and a +2.  And don’t forget, Pooty-Tang was a Top 10 fantasy Defenseman last year and was well on his way to doing the same this season.  Then he took a shot to the head.  The bad news is concussion comrade Crosby looked great in his...

Penguins D Letang takes morning skate

Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Kris Letang took part in today's morning skate, leading to speculation that he'll suit up for tonight's game against the New York Rangers.Letang hasn't played since Nov. 26, when he suffered a concussion after taking a hit to the head from Montreal's Max Pacioretty.Despite missing the last 21 games, Letang still leads all Penguins...

Morning Line

Crosby, we hope, has much more to give hockey, and in a perfect world, the concussion woes never return after he’s shaken this latest nightmare. But it doesn’t take much imagination to envision a different picture, of a diminished, cautious Crosby returning whenever he decides he’s able, but never again quite as recklessly exuberant and commanding on the ice as Sid The Kid...

Hudson Hockey

1_17_12 Hudson HockeyListen to the Hudson Hockey Crew John Pedersen and Bret Leuthner talk about the hot teams in the NHL, the NY Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and St. Louis Blues. Sidney Crosby seeing a specialist, and the FHL’s NJ Outlaws still dominating the league. All that and more on this episode of Hudson Hockey. Bookmark It Hide Sites $$('...

Defenseman Letang ready to return to lineup for Penguins

Defenseman Kris Letang is ready to return to the lineup for the first time in nearly two months, and he could be on the ice against the New York Rangers.

Ovie Trice – Got Some Teeth

But not all of them. I hope at least someone from The Smoking Section will appreciate that joke. Anyway, this Russian rap video has everything you’d expect from a Russian rap video — gangsters bragging about what appears to be Monopoly money, beautiful woman with incredible midsections who will morph into horrid-looking old ladies when they turn 25, random dudes in judo clothes...

Letang's return welcome sight for Penguins

Kris Letang sat out 21 games while recovering from a concussion. It wasn't easy, especially when his teammates were struggling, but Letang realized that neither he nor the Penguins would benefit if he tried to come back too quickly. "You need your head for the rest of your life," he said Thursday.

Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Carolina

Letang practices; Pens lines (10:35 AM). Back to the Future of this weekend's insane events (10:00 AM). Scouting the 'Canes (9:50 AM). 10:35 AM: Kris Letang, as expected, joins his team at the morning skate. Asham is ...

Defenseman Letang close to returning with Penguins

Kris Letang, who has not played since absorbing a hit from Montreal's Max Pacioretty on Nov. 26, could be back within the next week.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.