With the NHL lockout in full effect, there hasn’t been much news surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins lately.
As of now, there is no end in sight and the Winter Classic is now in jeopardy as sources told ESPN’s Scott Burnside that if a deal isn’t reached by November, that commissioner Gary Bettman is prepared to pull the plug on what is dear to him.
However, while the lockout has already affected the preseason, as all exhibition games through September have been cancelled, that hasn’t stopped the Penguins from staying busy and looking for other opportunities.
One of those guys happens to be defenseman Kris Letang, who has confirmed that he will join former Penguin Max Talbot in Quebec to play in a few “friendly” games. Talbot is one of the players that organized a tournament featuring current locked out NHL players.
“I’m heading up on Saturday,” Letang said after working out with his current teammates at the Iceoplex in Southpointe on Monday. “Max contacted me this week and I’m looking forward to going up.”
Current teammate Marc-Andre Fleury and former teammate Colby Armstrong also plan to play in the tournament known as La Tournee Des Joueurs. The tour is supposed to involve one game per week at $20 per ticket, with all donations going to charity.
“It’s going to be good for the legs, getting to play in some games,” said Letang. “Getting the work in is important, but it’s all going for a good cause.”
Different players treat the preseason differently, but Letang is one of the veterans on the team that really misses the normal NHL preseason schedule.
“It’s very important,” added Letang. “The practices and the workouts are good, but it’s impossible to duplicate a game situation. It’s not only good shake off rust and get your legs back, but so many things can happen in a game situation and you can’t adjust well to the timing of the game without putting yourself in those game situations.”
While Letang will get a little taste of game action beginning this weekend, he doesn’t expect to stay in Canada very long if the lockout drags along as he, like his teammates, must make important decisions involving their playing future.
He’s expecting a child within the next month and after that, Letang is expected to find a team.
“I won’t wait too long,” said Letang. “We are having a baby here soon and after that I am going to have to look for somewhere to play. I just want to play hockey, so hopefully this can get settled before it drags out too long.”