Resilient Letang is Penguins’ nominee for Masterton Trophy

Kris Letang’s friends and Pittsburgh Penguins teammates – there is a lot of overlap there – helped him celebrate his 1,000th NHL game April 2. Some noted that the 35-year-old defenseman took a long, sometimes difficult road to the major milestone.

He would have gotten there sooner if not for an extended list of setbacks during his stellar career. This season alone, Letang has dealt with his second stroke, the death of his father and an undisclosed injury. He still has played – and played at his high-minutes, high-level norm – in 62 of the Penguins’ 80 games, logging 11 goals, 39 points.

And that’s just this season. In the past, in addition to his first stroke in 2014, he has dealt with neck surgery, concussions, migraines and other injuries. Yet he has his name on the Stanley Cup three times and remains one of the Penguins’ stars, a core franchise player along with centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

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That’s a lot to push through. It’s taken a ton of perseverance and dedication, and Letang has exhibited sportsmanship throughout the good times and the trying times.

The NHL has an award for that. The Masterton Trophy.

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