ONE-WAY CONTRACT KEY FOR LETESTU
While the Penguins reached out to Letestu’s agent in December expressing interesting in locking up Letestu to an extension, official contract talks between the two sides didn’t begin until early last week.
However, It only took a matter of days for the two sides to finalize the framework of the deal.
For a player of Letestu’s stature whose in his rookie year at age 25, receiving a one-way contract pushed talks at an accelerated pace.
“Something I’m pretty happy about, ” Letestu said after the Penguins 4-1 win. “Obviously, it’s been a happy couple days for me knowing. It’s just good to know that someone wants you for another two years and finally get a one way deal.”
Letestu, who originally signed with the Penguins organization as a free agent on March 22, 2007, played the previous three-plus seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. He accumulated 51 goals, 83 assists, 134 points and a plus-30 rating in 191 games with WBS. Letestu posted 16 playoff points (2G-14A) in 30 postseason contests, and helped the team earn a berth in the Calder Cup Final in 2008.
The Elk Point, Alberta native played one collegiate season at Western Michigan. Letestu was named Central Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year after recording 24 goals and 46 points in 37 games. He ranked third in the CCHA in goals and seventh in points, while leading the nation with five shorthanded goals.
CONNER NETS PENS 1st PENALTY SHOT GOAL SINCE 2007
Tonight winger Chris Conner was a factor and scored Pittsburgh’s first successful penalty shot since 2007. The goal was Conner’s 6th of the season.
The Penguins had been 0 for 12 on penalty shots dating back to Jan. 20, 2007, when Jarkko Ruutu scored on a penalty shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I kind of knew what I was going to do the whole time going in, you just have to execute and make it work,” Conner said. Conner had no clue on the Penguins almost four year streak. “No one brought that to my attention. I’m glad they didn’t tell me before that.”
KENNEDY COLLECTECTS 100th CAREER POINT
Tyler Kennedy had a strong game, recording two assists and collected his 100th career point, assisting on Jordan Staal’s 1st period goal just 3:02 into the game.
GAME LACKED BUZZ DUE TO INJURIES
Sidney Crosby sat out for the 6th straight game due to a concussion, while the Red Wings were without several core players which took a lot of buzz away from the game. The Red Wings were without forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Clearly, defenseman Brad Stuart and No. 1 and No. 2 goaltenders, Jimmy Howard and Chris Ozgood.
*Max Talbot has not scored in 21 games
*Penguins are 6-0-1 when Chris Conner scores
*Penguins continued their dominance at home against the Detroit Red Wings, improving to 46-19-4 all-time at home against Detroit.
*Scoring 3:02 into the game, Pittsburgh is 20-5-1 when scoring 1st.
*Marc Andre Fleury improved to 21-11-2 on the season, making 36 saves in the win. Fleury is 20-5-2 in his last 27 starts.
*Evgeni Malkin collected an assist and has 3 assists in 6 games without Sidney Crosby.
Jordan Staal who netted his 3rd goal of the season, has 6 points in his last 3 games.
Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald falls to 1-4-1 all-time against Pittsburgh.
RACE FOR 1ST IN THE EAST
The Penguins improved to 29-14-4, 62 pts on the season and kept pace with the Philadelphia Flyers (30-11-5, 65pts), who moved 3 points ahead of the Penguins, defeating the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday night. The Flyers are tied for the most points in the league with 65.
STAMKOS SCORES NO. 34 & 35
With Sidney Crosby missing his 6th straight game, Steven Stamkos is starting to heat up again, scoring his 34th and 35th goals of the season tonight.
Stamkos has 35 goals and 28 assists for 63 points on the season. Crosby holds a slim three point lead, with 32 goals and 34 assists. Crosby will miss his 7th straight game on Thursday night.
Quote of the Night: “We had Sid out. We’re dealing with adversity too, centerman Mark Letestu said.
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