The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - March 17th, 2014

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

Good news for Letang, he's been cleared for practice after suffering a stroke.

Less than seven weeks after sustaining a stroke, Kris Letang was cleared to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will join the team for practice Monday.

Letang, who has not played since a Jan. 29 stroke and resulting discovery of a small hole in his heart, has been taken off blood thinner medication. The defenceman has missed the past 14 games.

"He still has some other things to go through (before returning to game action)," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, "but we knew that this was the six-week mark (since the stroke diagnosis) and there was a chance. He’s been working out, he’s been skating and doing quite a bit on his own."

Yesterday Benoit scored in front of family and friends.

The Avalanche scored in the second period off a lovely tic-tac-toe passing play among Matt Duchene, Patrick Bordeleau and defenceman Andre Benoit, leaving Benoit – only last year a popular Senator – perfectly positioned to fire the puck past Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner.

"It’s always nice to score," said Benoit, of nearby St. Albert. Particularly nice when the stands were packed with so many family and friends.

"I’m just glad I didn’t have to pay for them."

Colorado scored early in the third on the power play, when defenceman Nick Holden found himself standing at the edge of a crease when a puck came to him from the corner. All he had to do was tap it in past Lehner on the backhand.

Montreal Gazette takes a look back at Patrick Roy. The bad and the great.

Controversy has been a recurring theme with Roy during his career, and yet I also have seen him in his best moments when his gentleness moved people to tears. Roy surely has forgotten it, but I still remember one incident that left me giddy with pleasure.

It happened following a Habs practice in Quebec City. There was a game to be played that night, but now only Roy remained on the ice waiting for a 10-year-old to join him. The boy was born to pain, and lived with it bravely – he had this dream of going one-on-one with his idol, Roy. What could be greater than to score a goal on Patrick Roy?

So there they were at the Quebec Coliseum: Roy skating in little circles, sending up small shivers of ice pellets, rattling the blade of his stick on the ice before settling into a crouch in his crease, looking every inch like a guy in the moments before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. The boy’s mother looked on nervously watching her child who hadn’t smiled or laughed nearly often enough in his young life.

"Okay … I’m ready," Roy finally yelled. "Show me your best."

It took a long time for the boy, skating on his matchstick legs, to close the 15 feet separating him from Roy’s crease. A wobbly shot … a desperate lunge from Roy and … goal! Roy slammed his stick on the ice in mock anger.

"Try that again," he muttered at the boy, who by now had a reason to smile. "I’ll bet you can’t do that again."

Another wobbly shot. Another goal. Ten minutes of goal after goal followed – and after each one the boy would raise his stick skyward, his face lighting up with smiles that eventually grew into a delighted laugh. His mother looked on from her Coliseum seat – and cried.

"That was a nice thing you did this morning," I told Roy later that day. "It must have been hard."

"It was easy," Roy said.

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