albeit slightly frightening for Pittsburgh s defensive leader
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been cleared for contact before training camp opens Friday.
Letang, who underwent season ending neck surgery on April 13 to repair a herniated disk, said he felt healthy Tuesday but continues to take his recovery one day at a time. He hopes to play when the defending Stanley Cup champions open their regular season against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 4.
Health is pretty good, Letang said. I ve been working out all summer. I was restrained at the beginning http://www.penguinscoolhockey.com/phil-kessel-jersey-c-22.html, but I got the clearance to start running and skating around July 5. Pretty full summer. ... We ll just start and go day by day. I got cleared to have contact and skate with the team. We ll see how it goes the first few days and we ll increase the workload.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was able to lift the Stanley Cup at the team s victory parade in June, but was unable to play in the postseason as he recovered from April neck surgery. Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire
Letang had five goals and 29 assists in 41 games while battling various injuries last season. Throughout that season, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he would like Letang to adjust his style and avoid unnecessary hits.
Playing at least 25 minutes is what I want to do, Letang said. That s part of my game, the way I play. So, obviously, it s the goal. I have no expectation. I m just going to go like I always did and go from there.
Letang hasn t played since Feb. 2, when he had one assist in 28 49 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Penguins announced April 5 that Letang would miss four to six months after undergoing neck surgery. The surgery was successful, albeit slightly frightening for Pittsburgh s defensive leader.
When I woke up, it was hard, Letang said. I m not going to lie. It was a tough first two weeks. A lot goes through your mind, but after that, I got more confidence. When the guys were playing Sidney Crosby Jersey, I was actually able to work out, do little things. I got my confidence back then that I was going to be healthy.