Like most of the hockey world yesterday, I was really looking forward to the Penguins-Rangers game. I couldn’t wait to see a certain Penguin return to the ice for the second time this season after suffering another concussion. He was back and there were so many questions that we needed answers to .
How would he perform?
How much ice time would he get?
Would he make an immediate impact on a team that already had won 9 straight?
Did his return instantly make the Penguins not only a contender, but a front runner for the Cup?
7pm couldn’t get there soon enough. There are some things that are just talked about so much that after a while there is nothing left to say (Hey Super Bowl, I’m looking in your direction) , you just want to get to it.
It didn’t take long for Pens fans watching on TV to be able to say “welcome back”, as Pittsburgh scored just 2:54 into the game. He didn’t pick up a point, but he was on the ice (his first shift) . It wouldn’t be the only goal this night that he would be on the ice for , and stats geeks don’t worry, he DID pick up an assist later on in the game.
His stick handing and poise under pressure were things that had me in awe all night. No matter what situation he was in, it seemed as though he never panicked, not once! His physicality was there and he showed no hesitation in using the body when it called for it. He didn’t shy away from the corners or situations where his body (and more specifically his head) , could get hit.
What about his timing you ask? His passes were perfect and his teammate’s never had to break stride when he fed them the puck.
There were a lot of questions going into the game about his ice time, and how much head coach Dan Bylsma would “ease him in”. Well he played longer than most people expected. How could you blame Bylsma? He was playing great and also running on a lot of adrenalin.
He instantly made an already dangerous power play even scarier, moving the puck around from the point and creating scoring chances. Now that he is back, any team hoping to compete with the Pens better stay out of the box or they will get killed.
All that being said, I will finish this post off by saying this:
Excellent comeback Kris Letang, you looked great out there.
Oh…Sid came back too? I barely noticed!
Let’s head to the links
What is going on with the Bruins right now? Maybe Tim Thomas has answers (Pro Hockey Talk)
From this video it looks like John Tavares might be preparing himself for a future in coaching (Puck Daddy)
Katie baker talks Radulov and the rest of the week in the NHL (Grantland)
Score Nation takes a look at how the this Penguins team was built.
Second City Hockey examines the explanations that the Blackhawks are giving for Jonathan Toews
Sign that your team is struggling: They hold a “Players only meeting” (The Province)
Quick update on Nicklas Backstrom’s concussion recovery (Washington Post)
It happened again last night, a goalie picked up a shutout loss (In Lou we trust)
and I can;t believe I’m going to end this post with a video of a Leafs goaltender making a great save…but I am