The Penguins held season-ending interviews with media today. Here's a round up:
Defenseman Kris Letang (right) discussed his a concussion he suffered March 29 when he was hit by Coyotes forward Shane Doan: “I'm better. We always have to go through a protocol. I skated a few times early in the morning. I'm better. … I was not going to play again this [season]. “
On the hit by Doan, Letang said, “He reached out to me. I had no problem with it. I think it was mainly that my skate got caught. I was surpised he hit me but the fact that I got caught in the ice and my head just banged off the wall.”
-Right winger Pascal Dupuis discussed his recovery from a blood clot which has sidelined him since November. He said, “It's been five months. It's behind me right now. Obviously I still have some more testing to do. I'm still on some blood thinners right now but I'm looking ahead right now.”
Defenseman Olli Maatta talked about his right shoulder which underwent surgery twice within a calendar year. He said. “I'm a couple weeks away from skating. I think it's going well. We keep progressing. It's feeling good but I don't want to rush it. Right now, we have a lot of time. A lot of time to do it. I'd rather do it right and be conservative than rush it. … I tried to rehab, get stronger. Tried to play with it but I couldn't' do it. I think it's kind of naive for me to to try and come back and not think about the future.”
Maatta was asked about how it was re-injured: “I have the same surgery I did late summer. I got hit and it got caught the wrong way. I hurt the same part. Kind of unlucky I guess. … I never had a season like this and I hope I never will [again]. It's been tough. “
-Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (right), who missed the last nine games of the regular season and all five playoff games addressed his health: “I'm still trying to get back from a concussion. It's been a long road back with the multiple concussions I had along the season. I was getting better and started skating with the team again and had some set backs. So I had to shut it down again. I don't really know where I am [healthwise]. Obviously I have some more time to get it really [healed]. But I wasn't really close.”
-Defenseman Derrick Pouliot did not reveal the nature of his “upper-body” injury which has sidelined him since April 7. Pouliot said the injury is not related to his surgically repaired shoulder. Head coach Mike Johnston suggested Pouliot could have been in the lineup if the Penguins had played Game 6 against the Rangers today.
-Right winger Blake Comeau said his left wrist wasn't as strong as it was before injuring it Dec. 23 but “it didn't affect how I was playing. It's just something I've got to rebuild this summer.”
-Right winger David Perron said he suffered a right rib injury in the regular season finale which forced him hit with his left side instead of his right side as he normally does.
Unrestricted free agents:
A number of Penguins' unrestricted free agent discussed their future.
-Center Daniel Winnik (right), “You don't think you ever really want to leave the team you're on. Hopefully it works out here.”
-Comeau said, “I hope [to return]. I love playing here. I love this city. I think it's an organization that wants to win and as a player, that's what I want to be a part of.”
-Ehrhoff said, “There's definitely interest [in resigning with the Penguins]. I haven't talked to my agent or [general manager Jim Rutherford] yet. That's something we'll do the next couple of days and see where we're at.”
Center Maxime Lapierre, “It's a great setup, a great city, a great group of guys. We're going to find a way to make it work.”
Right winger Steve Downie, Craig Adams, goaltender Thomas Greiss and defenseman Paul Martin did not speak with media on the record.
Restricted free agents:
-Right winger Beau Bennett, no stranger to injuries, proclaimed himself as healthy and is looking forward to getting a full offseason. When asked about his future with the team, he said, “I love playing in this city and I love playing for this team.”
-Defenseman Ian Cole said, “I would love the opportunity to come back for sure.”
-Defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Pouliot and forward Scott Wilson will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to help that team's in the Calder Cup playoffs. Defenseman Taylor Chorney, must clear waivers, before he can be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
IIHF World Championship
A few members of the Penguins could be candidates to participate in the IIHF World Championship which starts later this month.
Center Sidney Crosby (right) said he will play for Canada. He last participated in the tournament in 2006.
Center Evgeni Malkin said he still needs to talk with Penguins management before determining if he will play for Russia. There are typically immense expectations on Russian players to participate in the tournament. Russian president Vladimir Putin pays close attention to the tournament.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Perron said they have not received invitations from Canada.
Right winger Patric Hornqvist has not received an invitation from Sweden. He expressed interest in playing.
Defenseman Ian Cole has not received an invitation from the United States.
(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Matt Kincaid/Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)