The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without defenseman Kris Letang for a ‘couple of weeks’ head coach Mike Sullivan announced on Thursday, according to Michelle Crechiolo of Pens Inside Scoop.
Letang is currently fourth on the team in scoring, with two goals and 17 assists, including nine points on the power play, in 25 games. His 26:04 of average ice time per game is also first on the Penguins.
The 29-year-old blueliner has been paired with Brian Dumoulin on the team’s top defensive unit and is off to a strong start after missing five games with an upper-body injury earlier this season.
Letang played more than 26 minutes in the team’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. During the second period, he got up slowly after being knocked into the boards but stayed in the game.
With the win over the Bruins, the Penguins have now won seven straight games for the 10th straight season — a feat no other team in the NHL has ever accomplished — according to Elias Sports Bureau.
With Letang out, the Penguins recalled defenseman Derrick Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. In seven games with WBS, he’s been held scoreless and registered two penalty minutes.
The Penguins will play seven games in the next two weeks beginning with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 15, 2016
Sens’ Hoffman Set for Hearing
Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman is set for a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Friday, according to a report by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
A phone hearing means less than five games or fine for Hoffman. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 15, 2016
The hearing has been set to review Hoffman’s cross-check to the back of the head of San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture during the Senators’ 4-3 shootout loss on Wednesday.
Hoffman received a five-minute major penalty and was ejected from the game for the play. Couture was shaken up and slow to get to his feet before being tended to by a trainer and leaving the ice on his own accord.
Hoffman’s play came during the third period and may be viewed as a retaliatory after Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic speared Senators captain Erik Karlsson a period earlier.
Senators forward Kyle Turris challenged Vlasic to a fight seconds after the spearing play but the intensity boiled over into the third period in a game that included 71 penalty minutes.
The league has not commented on whether they plan to review Vlasic’s play at this time.
Vlasic's spear on Erik Karlsson last night. (zoomed-In replays) pic.twitter.com/Yw47Inrl5z
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) December 15, 2016
Odds and Ends
— Team Canada has set its 22-man roster for the World Junior Championship that begins on Dec. 26 and will reportedly not receive any players on loan from any NHL teams, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Team CAN "officially" not getting any NHL players. @HockeyCanada contacted NHL teams today, got formal rejections from ARI, NYI, TOR, PHI.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 15, 2016
— Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, an Arizona native, will play his childhood idol, Shane Doan, for the first time as an NHL player on Thursday. Ironically, Doan’s son is a big fan of the 19-year-old rookie.
Shane Doan says his 14-year-old son is "as big of an Auston Matthews fan as there is."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 15, 2016