Let’s go back in time.
One day, the following things were said by Dan Bylsma on Kris Letang taking a bad penalty in Game One:
“I think going into a series, there are certain players that you’re looking to put a dent on and go after and forecheck and be physical on,” Bylsma said. “Kris is one of those guys for our team. … I didn’t like the response from Kris. I think he got a message, whether it was … not playing or a nice talk. He got a message.”
And this, by Kris Letang, via Rob Rossi:
Letang said he showed lack of respect to teammates with penalties, agreed with coach decision to cut ice time #pens
— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) April 18, 2014
Fast-forward to Saturday night. The Penguins just killed off all but seven seconds of a Blue Jackets’ penalty, and there are seven minutes left in the game. Watch the penalty Kris Letang takes.
But do you know what makes this even worse? Right before the penalty above, Letang did this:
Note the ref at the very end. He let that hit slide, only to see Letang do it again. It is like Letang forgot the rules.
Look, Kris Letang makes a ton of mistakes. We know that. The risk/reward thing will always be an issue with him. Even on Columbus’s GWG, Letang was at fault. But we’ll live with that; that is just hockey. He has the skill to make up for missing a coverage.
The problem with Letang is that he appears to be devoid of any hockey awareness. In the quote above, his own coach believes that he got the message to not take bad penalties? He responded by taking the worst penalty of the game.
Make your own conclusions, but the message? Safe to say it was sent, but not received. Not even close.