Pittsburgh Penguins star defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke, the team announced Wednesday.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall revealed that Letang was taken to the hospital Monday after he said he was dealing with a migraine headache. Hextall said Letang did not know he had a stroke, but knew “something wasn’t right.”
“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said in a statement, via ESPN. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. It is important for me that my teammates, family and the fans know that I am OK. I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”
Hospital tests confirmed Letang suffered a stroke, the second of his career. Letang missed more than two months after suffering a stroke during the 2013-14 season. He is not experiencing any long-term effects and it is not believed to be career-threatening. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said initial test results on Letang have been “very encouraging.”
Letang did not play in the Penguins’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He was at the arena, however, and spent the second period chatting with Hextall. Letang spoke to his teammates in the locker room following the game.
“I think it was important for Kris to be there because his teammates got to see him in good spirits and that he’s doing well,” Sullivan said.
Penguins to Be Without Kris Letang for Foreseeable Future
Letang, 35, inked a six-year, $36.6 million extension in July after his eight-year deal came to an end. He opted to remain with the Penguins, who drafted him 62nd overall in the second round of the 2005 NHL Draft, rather than becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games this season. He leads the Penguins with 23:54 in ice time per game. Letang is one year removed from recording a career-high 68 points in his age-34 campaign.