PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Penguins coach Dan Bylsma gave more positive news after an optional practice Wednesday at Southpointe, saying defenseman Kris Letang is probable to play tonight against the New York Rangers.
“He’s heading towards being in,” Bylsma said, according to the team’s official website. “He had a good day (Tuesday) with the team, he had another good day (Wednesday) and we’re expecting him to come to the rink (today), having a good day and being ready to play.”
If Letang is able to return it will mean he, Sidney Crosby and Paul Martin will all return to the lineup, making the Penguins completely healthy for the first time in months.
Letang has been out since suffering a hit to his chin Nov. 29 at Dallas. The hit caused concussion-like symptoms to resurface from a concussion he suffered Nov. 26 at Montreal.
“I feel pretty good,” Letang said. “I had a good practice. I stepped on earlier and everything went well so we will go from there. We will see how I feel after the morning skate.”
Letang’s concussion in November forced him to miss 21 games. The most recent symptoms — which the team insists never developed fully into another diagnosed concussion — have caused him to miss another five games.
“A lot of people ask if it was a concussion,” Letang said. “At the beginning we said no. Obviously I had a few symptoms after the hit. Compared to the first one, It’s not like I waited after three days and I had bad symptoms and I was sick. So we were just being really careful. We were waiting for those symptoms to go away.”
Crosby returned from a concussion Nov. 21 against the New York Islanders. He played eight games before being sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. He hasn’t played since, but recently announced he’ll return to the lineup tonight.
Martin missed the last two games because of illness.
Letang, Crosby and Martin all participated in Wednesday’s optional practice. Joining them were forwards Richard Park, Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey and Joe Vitale and defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Matt Niskanen.