It’s interesting that Kris Letang was born with a hole in the wall of his heart.
After all, no one’s heart is bigger nor powerful than his. Letang, less than 48 hours after learning that he had sustained the second stroke of his 35-year-old life, was already asking Penguins general manager Ron Hextall and coach Mike Sullivan if he could skate on Wednesday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
The answer was no. For now, anyway.
“He’s one tough SOB,” Hextall said.
Can’t argue with that.
Letang, in his 17th season, has participated in 962 NHL games. Only Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have played in more games for the Penguins.
However, Letang’s medical ailments have always been part of his story, and Wednesday they produced another upsetting piece of news for a person who was otherwise blessed with the physical jackpot.
In his career, Letang has now endured two strokes, the first of which came in 2014. He also underwent career-threatening neck surgery in 2017 and dealt with concussions in 2011 and in 2014, the latter a bad one courtesy of a dangerous Shane Doan hit.
Early in Letang’s career, he missed multiple games because of migraine headaches.