Defenseman Kris Letang saw the replay of Alex Ovechkin’s slash on the back of his leg in the third period of Tuesday night’s game. He joked with the media about Ovechkin’s remark that he was merely trying to “shoot the puck.”
“Apparently, my leg is a puck,” Letang told reporters at his locker stall following Wednesday’s practice. “I guess he thought his stick could go through my leg and hit the puck.”
On the play, Letang and Ovechkin were chasing a loose puck. Letang arrived there first and used his body to shield the rubber. Ovechkin wood chopped Letang on the back of his leg. After the blow, Letang fell to the ice and slammed back-first into the end boards.
Letang left the game at that point, but was able to return and finish. He still ended up logging a team-high 26:54 minutes.
“What hurt me was when I hit the boards,” Letang said. “I’m fine now.”
On the ensuing faceoff both David Perron and Chris Kunitz challenged Ovechkin to a fight, which he declined. A few minutes later the Pens’ fourth line got into an altercation prior to a faceoff.
Letang was pleased to see his teammates standing by his side.
“It’s something that we want throughout our entire lineup,” Letang said. “We want guys to stick up for each other. ‘Perry’ and ‘Kuni’ went after him. I really appreciate what they did. You could see it in our guys, we wanted to get back at them. We did a good job of doing that. We just have to make sure we don’t go overboard.”
At the time of the slash, the Pens and Caps were tied at 1-1 early in the third period. A penalty on the play could have given the Pens a power-play opportunity and changed the outcome of the contest.
However, as far as Letang is concerned, the play is already in the distant past.
“It is what it is,” Letang said. “They didn’t call (a penalty). Today it doesn’t mean anything anymore.”
PRACTICE NOTES Captain Sidney Crosby and defenseman Simon Despres were the only players absent from the team’s practice on Wednesday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.
“Those were just maintenance days for both of those guys,” head coach Mike Johnston said following practice.
Johnston added that various players will be missing practices for maintenance days heading into a March full of games.
“We’ll have a lot more (maintenance days) with half the group sometimes,” Johnston said. “It’s important if there is anything bothering a player to give them a break when you can.”
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (concussion protocol) participated in his third straight practice with the team without contact. He’s dealt with concussion-like symptoms since hitting his head on the ice Jan. 28 at Washington.
“Until he takes contact we won’t have a timetable (on his return),” Johnston said. “Once he gets to that stage where they clear him for contact, then we’ll have a good idea.”
SCUDERI DOWN The Pens had an injury scare when defenseman Rob Scuderi went down hard in the corner during a drill. He was helped by an athletic trainer and skated off the ice on one leg. After a quick stop to the training room, Scuderi returned to the ice to finish practice.