Pittsburgh Penstravaganza!

Kris Letang’s health status is all that matters

If Letang’s season is over, the Penguins’ season is over. That, plus Justin Schultz, Sidney Crosby, and can Matt Murray win Rookie of the Year?

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t matter what the Penguins did last week; all that matters with so few games remaining is the health of Kris Letang, and the Penguins are being super weird about it.

Letang hasn’t played since Feb. 21 with an “upper-body injury,” which could be a concussion or heart-related issue, two things that have felled Letang in the past. Coach Mike Sullivan said he won’t go on the team’s five-game road trip, and he won’t discuss any details about the vague health issue.

No news is said to be good news, but in the case of the Letang, no news is scary news. Teams tend to be elusive when it comes to concussions, especially when it involves a player who has had them in the past, and if this injury is related to the stroke Letang suffered in 2014, it again explains why the team would be evasive about something so serious.

If Letang’s season is over, the Penguins’ season is over.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

You can plug in Ron Hainsey for Olli Maatta or Mark Streit for Trevor Daley, but there’s no replacing Letang in the postseason.

If this is another concussion, it would be great if Letang hung up the skates for his own health. He’s only 29, has made about $40 million in his career and doesn’t need to pick up more concussions over the next seven years of his career.

Then again, if he’s just taking time to learn to paint, then never mind. He should be back for the playoffs and will likely have some great observations about Monet.

We don’t know, because the team won’t say.

Real penguins

This has nothing to do with Pittsburgh, but it’s a cool photo of penguins, who at no point were startled by fireworks during an outdoor hockey game.

In a snap

I don’t pretend to understand Snapchat. “Here’s a five-second video of a concert, and an eight-second video of me singing along, and here’s a six-second video of me vomiting during the encore.”

But the kids love it and the kids read this, so this is for the kids.

Carl Hagelin is skating around in Spectacles, which are Snapchat glasses, which makes you wonder why they’re not called Snapchat Glasses. Or Snaptacles. Or Snapfocals. Or Snapeyes. I’ve lost track of my point, but if you love watching people skate with cameras on their heads, but hate the way GoPros show you everything and wish you could see a lot less through a weird circle, click that link in the tweet.

Player of the Week

Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Schultz, who will have to become the store-brand version of Letang on the power play, looked pretty great over the past three games. He had two goals and three assists and started the four-goal comeback against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

He has 11 goals and 44 points in 61 games and will very likely make a boatload of money this summer even though he’s an RFA. Letang’s future is probably tied to Schultz’s future, depending on what’s happening with Letang.

Player of the Weak

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to ask the question — is 29-year-old Sidney Crosby past his prime?

He has just two points in his past four games and zero points in three of those four games. Sure, he had a ridiculous nine shots against the Sabres on Sunday, but it’s not like any of them went in. What a chump.

Is it time to look to trade Crosby in the summer? Perhaps for a true winner like Jonathan Toews or Trevor Lewis? It’s time to think about it if you’re Jim Rutherford.

One Question

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

He was. Not anymore. He’s probably going to play 50 games, and if he gets that save percentage up to .930, then maybe he would have a case, but it’s either Patrik Laine or Auston Matthews. Laine and Matthews are second and third in goals and Murray is seventh in save percentage, so he’s out for me.

What’s funny is if Laine and Matthews finished with like 25 goals and 55 points instead of 35 goals and 65 points, Murray would still probably not win because despite being a rookie, too many people would consider him not a rookie, because that’s what people do. “How can a goalie that has won a Stanley Cup be a rookie?” Because he is. A Stanley Cup isn’t part of the NHL’s criteria for rookie status. It’s not complicated.

So if Murray closes real strong and Laine/Matthews stall down the stretch, maybe Murray can win the Calder. But he’s too far back now and probably still not a rookie in some people’s eyes, so there’s almost no chance.