Penguins 2011-2012 Preview: Kris Letang, 24, is growing as a player and mentor
“When I look at him, I see myself,” Letang said. “He’s a smooth skater who likes to shoot, likes to join the play.”
Letang’s usual defense partner, Brooks Orpik, missed much of the preseason while dealing with the lingering effects of abdominal surgery, and Morrow often was plugged into Orpik’s spot.
Those two meshed nicely — that was most evident in a preseason game when they deftly executed a set play during a power-play faceoff, swapping sides of the ice during a sequence that culminated with Morrow hammering a Letang feed into the net — and just might spend a lot of time together in coming seasons.
For Morrow, Letang’s tutelage has been an invaluable asset. For Letang, it is mostly payback for how veterans helped him during his formative years.But it also underscores how Letang, even at a relatively early stage in his pro career, is taking on more of a leadership role.
“There are many things I had to learn before I got to where I am right now,” he said. “To have somebody who talks you and takes care of you [is important].
“Back in the day, it was [Sergei Gonchar], and Alain Nasreddine when I was at my first camp. There were tons of guys who talked to me. [Orpik] talked to me.
“I had a responsibility, and obviously I had a chance to play with [Morrow during the preseason]. I think it was important that I tell him the way we play and a few things that will be different at the NHL level.
“Obviously, I want to take more [of a role] in the room, be a bigger leader. But people don’t really know me as a guy who talks a lot. I’m a guy who’s going to go on the ice and be an example. But that’s something I’ve tried to do a little more, talk to the young guys and try to maybe lead the way.”