Letang Has No Plans to Change His Game

Penguins defenseman’s miscues in Islanders series drawing criticism

Josh Rowntree
April 18, 2019 - 12:30 pm
Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Kris Letang (58) argues a penalty during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG PAINTS Arena.

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Kris Letang has no intentions of changing his game. 

Following a brief, four game postseason in which Letang produced just one point, was a minus-3, and committed a pair of costly defensive mistakes that led to Islanders’ goals, the Penguins defenseman feels significant changes are not necessary moving forward. 

“We have guys who are still hungry for more,” Letang said during the team’s final media availability Thursday. “And, when you have a guy like (Penguins captain Sidney Crosby), that wants to lead a team to more championships, you have a chance every year. 

"There’s some years that go like this. It’s not going to be perfect. We weren’t hitting strides here at the end of the year like we did in the past.”

Letang became agitated toward the end of his time speaking, particularly when pressed on if he needs to become more conservative in the way he plays. 

After trying to score one-on-three in overtime of Game 1, Letang’s costly pinch led to the decisive goal in Pittsburgh’s Game 4 loss to the Islanders. 

"What, you don't want me to make a mistake,” Letang sarcastically questioned. “I’ll try that. Next year I'll try to make no mistakes at all.”

“Maybe next year, you’ll say ‘hey, we have Kris in our lineup and he doesn’t do anything offensively.’ So then you’re going to rip me apart because I don’t produce anything. 

“I totally assume that sometimes I make mistakes. I wish I could take those back. At the end of the day, yeah, I wish I could have done something else at different times. 

Letang remained adamant that, despite his flaws, he doesn’t need to alter this aggressive traits. 

“I don’t think the question of ‘should I change my whole game’ is going to be the answer to that. I’m not going to change, (because of) three plays in my whole year, the type of game I play.”

So, if Letang won’t change his occasionally haphazard style, what about the roster construction around him and, possibly, including him?

“You can’t change a million guys,” he said. “We just have to be better, as individuals, finding our role throughout the lineup and making our team better. It’s too easy to say, ‘oh, I’ll change ten guys and we’ll have a better team.’ That’s not how it works. You have to work with what you have in your room.

With plenty of time to reflect on its surprisingly short playoff run, the attention now turns to how to get this group, whatever it may look like, better for 2019-2020. 

“There’s always something to be learned. It was an up-and-down season. It was not a smooth ride. 

“We expect a lot of this team and that’s not the way we wanted to go out.”

Hear more from Penguins defenseman Kris Letang below.

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