Kris Letang supports Marc-Andre Fleury and endorses new sports drink BODYARMOR
Add Penguins defenseman Kris Letang to the list of people in the United States or Canada intent on avoiding extraneous and harmful ingredients.
Also add Letang to the list of people around the Penguins who don’t want to see goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury go anywhere.
Letang recently partnered with BODYARMOR, a natural sports drink that contains no colors from artificial sources, and talked not only about that pursuit but also tackled a few hockey-related topics with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after practice Wednesday.
Among the most timely was Fleury, as TSN ran a segment Wednesday morning speculating that trade interest in Fleury, one of Letang’s best friends, could heat up soon.
Letang isn’t immune to all of the goalie talk, but he also wouldn’t mind if the speculation simply went away.
“It is what it is, but at the end of the day, you have two unbelievable goalies,” Letang said. “Fleury has been a No. 1 for his entire career. He’s been a No. 1. He’s always going to be a No. 1 and play over 60 games. To hear the rumors, see the rumors on TV, it’s kind of annoying. Especially when he’s one of the greatest teammates that anyone could ever imagine. His play, too, has been unbelievable throughout his career. I would love to keep him.”
A few other topics Letang addressed:
• He said his own play of late has mirrored the Penguins — in that it has been inconsistent. After producing two goals and 11 points in his first 12 games played of 2016-17, a points-per-game mark of .92, Letang has no goals and four points (.44 per game) over his past nine.
“Same as the team,” Letang said. “Good games, some that are not my game. When we’re either trailing or we have to create something, I’ve been forcing it a little too much. It puts me in situations I don’t want to be in. Overall, that’s how I would describe it, up and down.”
• The drink itself, composed of coconut water, electrolytes and vitamins, is something Letang discovered during the Stanley Cup playoffs this past spring. He was at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex a lot for practice and also for his son Alexander’s skating lessons.
Alexander is allergic to artificial colors. Kris noticed the bottle at the counter, looked it over and liked the taste. It also adhered to their family’s philosophy of buying organic, grass-fed and hormone-free meat and avoiding food additives whenever possible.
“It struck me right away that it was all natural,” Letang said. “I got into it. I started drinking it. All those sports drinks out there have a bunch of artificial stuff. It fit us. Since then, we’ve been drinking it all the time.”
• His partners in this endeavor include a who’s who of pro athletes. Andrew Luck, Mike Trout, James Harden, Anthony Rizzo, Dustin Johnson and Jack Eichel are among those who’ve signed on. Kobe Bryant is the company’s third-largest investor.
“It means it’s a great product,” Letang said. “You don’t want to affiliate your name with a product you don’t trust.”
• The Penguins are still searching for consistency whether it’s with Fleury or Matt Murray in net. Letang doesn’t believe it’s fair to link the team’s up-and-down ways with who’s playing in net.
“I wouldn’t associate our play with the goalie in the net,” Letang said. “This year overall as a team, we’ve been up and down. We haven’t sustained 60 minutes of work. We didn’t play consistently at the level that we’re capable of. I don’t think it’s the goalie factor.”
• He did admit — and included himself in this — that the Penguins might be pressing a little bit to produce results. Which might explain, at least in part, why the power play has gone one for 27 over its past eight games.
“If the power play doesn’t work, or we’re not scoring goals, everybody wants to bring a little bit more,” Letang said. “Everybody wants to make the play that’s going to get us out of our slump. That’s how you get in trouble. Once you settle and you’re under control, I don’t think it should be an issue.”
Jason Mackey: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JMackeyPG.