When the Pittsburgh Penguins extended Kris Letang‘s contract last season, it was a controversial move that was highly debated amongst the fan base. Many people thought the price tag was too high and that the money used on Letang could have been used in other areas of need for a team that is contending for a Stanley Cup year in and year out.
Whether you liked the move or not, what is clear is the fan base’s love and hate for the Penguins’ blue liner night in and night out. Letang is a unique enigma on the ice. He has offensive skills that mirror those of an elite forward, skating ability that is almost unparalleled and defensive skills that make him a Norris Trophy candidate almost every season.
With all of that upside, what is there to hate about Letang? Last night’s victory was a perfect example. With the Penguins on the power play, a boneheaded turnover by Letang and a sloppy recovery led to a shorthanded goal for the Washington Capitals. To say the venom for Letang was flowing on social media would be an understatement. However, in typical Letang fashion, he redeemed himself later in the period by scoring the tying goal.
With Letang, you take the good with the bad, but it is the bad that has most fans worried about the blue line of the Penguins. When Letang plays poorly, it is unbelievably noticeable and impacts that game in tremendous fashion; however, the same can be said when he is on top of his game and flying around the ice making plays.
Penguins fans are a fickle group and demand perfection at every position, especially when a player garners an income like Letang does. The oft-injured Letang is hopefully settling back into the lineup and getting comfortable with his pairing partners as the season progresses.
Whether you love or hate Letang, one thing is for certain: the Penguins need him on top of his game to make a Stanley Cup run this year.