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Kris Letang steps up practice involvement

The Pens’ defender is back in a normal jersey only 10 days after a stroke

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

As the Penguins took to the ice on Thursday to gear up for a Friday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Buffalo Sabres, they also welcomed back defenseman Kris Letang to practice in a regular contact jersey.

Letang had joined for a sparsely attended morning gameday skate earlier in the week, practicing with a regular contact jersey for a full team practice is a much different and bigger step forward after suffering a stroke just 10 days ago.

Based on line rushes, the easing back process for Letang is still in play, with the star defender only rotating in for third pair drills.

In other news, Ryan Poehling was in a no contact jersey after missing his first game of the season on Tuesday. Based on that, he is unlikely to play tomorrow. That could present a problem for the Penguins, because Josh Archibald missed today’s practice as well. The team would need one of Poehling or Archibald to dress tomorrow night in Buffalo in order to field a full compliment of 12 forwards. Based on their precarious salary cap position, they may not have space to get a replacement for a minor injury.

We’ll update if Mike Sullivan has any updates about Letang, whose official status was previously unchanged from being out of the lineup. In the mean time, the defender continues to look pretty good wheeling around the ice as he attempts a return from his medical incident last week.

Update: after the practice the Penguins have changed Letang’s status from “out indefinitely” to “day to day”. Their doctor also provided an encouraging update from the medical side of things:

Letang himself also gave an update: