Kris Letang on playing for Mike Sullivan, NHL concussion spotters (Puck Daddy Q&A)
Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins is partnering with sports drink company BODYARMOR in a deal that was announced Thursday. That probably means he’ll soon be hit up by his teammates for some free stuff.
“So far it’s my son that is the lucky one,” Letang told Yahoo Sports. “Sometimes guys are kind of curious and they want to try it, so I try to hook them up, see if they like the same thing as me.”
Letang was introduced to BODYARMOR while inside the Penguins’ practice facility during a skating lesson for his son. Noticing it at the snack bar, he checked out the ingredients and liked what he saw.
“Coconut water is a big thing for me,” he said. “But I would certainly say the fact that the drink is all natural, that’s the biggest thing for me. That’s how I am with my body; at every level I try to be all natural with everything I put in my body.”
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Letang joins the likes of Mike Trout, Anthony Rizzo and Jack Eichel, among others, as partners.
On hockey matters, we spoke with Letang on Wednesday about playing for Mike Sullivan, how the game has changed since his rookie year and NHL’s concussion spotter program.
Q. We’re coming up on a year since Mike Sullivan was hired. Having now gone through a training camp with him and 26 games, is there anything in his system or style that he’s tweaked since last season?
LETANG: “No, he’s the same way. He wants high intensity, high pace. He wants a fast team that’s relentless on pucks and he wants our skill players to make plays, but at the same time to be smart. What he brought to our team last year is the same message that he sent us early in training camp.”
Why do you think the team responded so well to Mike?
“Every time there’s a coaching change it’s kind of a wake up call for your team. It’s a way to prove yourself again because you don’t know if your coach is going to like you or not. So you want to prove yourself, show him what you’re capable of; you want to get more ice time, you want to get in more situations. That’s the way it goes. I think he fits the personality of our group. Sid is an emotional guy, he’s an intense guy. Same thing with Malkin, Hornqvist. All those guys are guys that play with emotion. When you have a guy behind the bench that kind of fits you, it helps your game.”
You’re one of the older guys on the team now at 29. This league keeps bringing in great young talent year after year. How have you seen the game change since your rookie year to now?
“The speed of it. The speed changed a lot. There’s way less hitting than there used to be. Right now, there’s a lot of teams that play that position type of game. I think that’s the way it is these days and that’s what changed. When I came into the league it was just in the transition with the new rules, with all the hooking and the interference, so there was a lot of power plays. There was a lot more forechecking. There was a lot more physical play than there was now.”
You’ve played with Sidney Crosby your entire career and seen everything he’s gone through – from his on ice success to off ice matters like the concussions. He starts the season off with a concussion and comes back and doesn’t miss a beat scoring. Does anything about Sid surprise you anymore?
[Laughs] “Nothing surprises me from him.”
What do you think about the NHL’s concussion spotters? We just saw it the other night with Connor McDavid where they can have a player removed if they detect visible signs of a concussion.
“I think it’s good. If it happens to you it kind of sucks because you have to go in the room, it takes 15-20 minutes, you kind of get cold, you’re taking a guy out of the game. But at the same time safety is the big thing. When I saw [Philip] Larsen last night, you don’t want to see these things happen to anyone. I think the more precaution that we take, the better it is. I know not everybody likes it but at the end of the day when you’re the guy laying on the ice sometimes it’s the best thing.”
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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy
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