Pittsburgh Penguins Kris Letang out six weeks

By Alex Jordan,

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out six weeks after having a stroke last week. Letang, who has missed the Penguins' last four games, has had a small hole in his heart since birth.

The hole in his heart could have caused the stroke, the Penguins said in a press release. Letang will be treated with blood thinners and his condition is not believed to be career threatening, according to NHL.com.

"Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week," Ray Shero, the Penguins general manager said in the Penguins release. "We held him out of the Los Angeles game [Jan. 30], and when he continued to feel ill, tests conducted in Phoenix on Saturday gave us the first indication of his condition. Further testing then was conducted when he returned to Pittsburgh and he continued to undergo a battery of tests here this week."

After six weeks of treatment Letang will be re-evaluated by doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma called Letang a “very fine-tuned athlete.” Letang wanted to address his condition as soon as he could, according to the team.

"I hope that by making my condition public at this time I can help other people by encouraging them to seek medical help if they experience some of the symptoms associated with a stroke, regardless of their age or general health," Letang said. "It obviously was a shock to get the news but I'm optimistic that I can overcome this and get back on the ice."

Letang, who was a Norris Trophy finalist last season, has tied his career high with 10 goals, and 18 assists in 34 games this season, according to the Associated Press.

Letang hasn't played since taking on Buffalo on Jan. 27. Since his first season in 2006-07, Letang has 54 goals and 227 points in 419 games with the Penguins. Last summer he signed a eight-year, $58 million contract extension.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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