After the session wrapped, Letang and Coffey
stayed for an additional 30 minutes to chat. Every
time the conversation started to dwindle, one of
them would start a new topic. It was as if they didn’t
want that moment to end.
Before parting company, Coffey and Letang posed
for a photo together — just as they had during the
first time they met. Letang posted the photo on
his Instagram account with the caption: “The
#legend and the protégé.”
Two players that have left their mark on the
Penguins organization forever. One retired, the other
paying his respects while continuing to make his
mark on the league.
“Letang has got lots of runway left, great player,
plays hard, works hard, he’ll do a lot more great
things for Penguins’ fans,” Coffey said.
But Letang’s runway will run out at some point.
Every player’s career comes to an end eventually.
Perhaps 30 years down the road Letang will find
himself on the other side, playing the role of the
elder statesman to the next generation, sharing his
experience, advice and love of the game. Handing
down his legacy to the next defensive great, just as
Coffey had done for him.
And perhaps that next player will look upon
Letang with the same gratitude and admiration that
Letang now looks at Coffey. It is that look that has
bridged two generations of hockey history.
“For me I couldn’t be any happier for a guy
like Kris because he respects the game, loves
Pittsburgh and respects former players,” Coffey said,
emphasizing the importance of respecting those
that paved the road before you.
continued from page 141
The legend turned to
his protégé and added:
“You’ll find that out
when you retire with
six, seven, eight, nine
Cups. You’ll learn that
when you retire.
It means a lot.”