Yep, just as we all feared, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has concussion-like symptoms following a hit from Eric Nystrom of the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
Letang has concussion symptoms— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) March 1, 2012
Losing Letang is huge for the Pens as they look to go deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and if this is Letang's second concussion of the season, there's no saying when he'll be able to return to the lineup. As we've learned with all the various concussion issues around the league over the last few years, a potential return could come next week or next year. Undoubtedly, the Penguins will be extra careful with their star defenseman.
In related news, Nystrom won't be suspended for the hit. Brendan Shanahan, the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety, passed along the following explanation via Twitter:
Our view is that Letang lunges forward just prior to contact and although it appears that the chin is grazed by the side of Nystrom's arm, the right chest and shoulder of Letang remain the [principal point of contact]. No [supplemental discipline].
That explanation lends itself to the portion of Rule 48, governing illegal hits to the head, that stipulates players should not be at fault for hits when the receiving player puts themselves in a vulnerable position. A wild guess: Stars fans will agree, Penguins fans will not.