This was a long time coming, and very well deserved. There was a vacant spot for one of the alternate captain roles on the Penguins squad, that has now been filled by Kris Letang, and I couldn’t be any happier for the guy. Big congratulations to him.
The longest tenured Penguins’ defenseman has faced some trial and tribulations along with much success through his entertaining career. There really wasn’t any better choice once an opportunity was raised after Chris Kunitz bolted to Tampa Bay. (Pun intended)
After coming up as a spring chicken under the tutelage of great Penguin defensemen such as Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar, Letang has developed into a top 5-10 defenseman in the league. He’s become a blanket of comfort to Pens fans everywhere when he is on the ice.
Other than defense, Letang has also fiercely manned offensive production from the blue-line. He’s grown as a leader through his example of play.
This honor should have came years ago. But besides the Kunitz change, the Penguins haven’t had a new captaincy since 2012. Sometimes you might be deserving but there’s just not enough room.
Some could say that about Letang’s snubs for the Norris Trophy.….
Among a great career both offensively and defensively along with 3 Stanley Cups and counting, Letang has also had troubling circumstances that he has persevered to overcome.
During the 08′ Cup Finals, one of Letang’s best friend tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident. Letting also suffered a stroke amidst the 2014 season and miraculously came back by the end of it. A rare health ailment for someone at his age.
If that wasn’t enough, Letang endured neck surgery mid way through this 2017 season to fix a herniated disc, costing him the rest of the season and sitting out during the teams Cup run on the way to back to back trophies.
Determined to get back on the ice, there are not many players mentally tougher than Kris Letang. In a proud moment, he returned to said ice just the other day, participating in a preseason game wearing that “A”.
Our guy is back.
When you look around the locker room it really became an easy choice. Many of the Pens roster are only 2-3 years in, so who does that leave? Phil Kessel or Patric Hornqvist? What about Ian Cole?
Both might be great choices but they have only been a Penguin going on 3 (Kessel) and 4 years (Hornqvist). Based on Letang’s longevity on the team plus his elite level of play, he’s the right guy.
For me stats aren’t as important, but since I brought it up anyway Letang is currently 2nd on the team list in goals, assists, and points by a defensemen. He will surely pass that if he continues to get healthy and play a few more seasons.
Letang will join teammate Evgeni Malkin as a fellow alternate captain who is along side Sidney Crosby as the team captain for this group’s stable.
Maybe it’s just me, but I always felt the alternate captain roles should have 1 forward and 1 defenseman.
All of Pittsburgh should be proud that Letang earned this chance for this letter to be worn on his sweater. No one on the team, or maybe in the league, is more deserving of a very high honor.