Defenseman Kris Letang will not play for the Penguins against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. He is in COVID-19 protocol, coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday morning after an optional skate at PPG Paints Arena.
“He is not confirmed … he's in the confirmatory process,” Sullivan said, adding that Letang did fail an initial COVID-19 test. Letang practiced Friday with the Penguins.
Letang was born with a small hole in his heart, a condition discovered when he was stricken by a stroke in February 2014. He said before last season that doctors signed off on him playing in the NHL and that he was at no more risk if he were to contract COVID-19. Letang is vaccinated, as are all Penguins players, the team confirmed.
The Penguins are expected to recall a defenseman from the AHL for their game against Toronto.
In addition to missing Letang, their top defenseman, the Penguins will also play without center Jeff Carter, who has COVID-19 but is asymptomatic. Goalie Tristan Jarry is available to the Penguins on Saturday night. He practiced Friday after being placed in COVID-19 protocol on Thursday.
The Penguins are 2-0-2 despite having multiple players test positive for COVID-19, losing winger Bryan Rust to a lower-body injury, and playing all season without top centers Sidney Crosby (left wrist) and Evgeni Malkin (left knee).
(Photo: Joe Sargent / NHLI via Getty Images)