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Mark Letestu- an ode to a third liner

Guest yave1964

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Mark Letestu leads the Columbus Bluejackets in points. Really.

Letestu has always been a favorite of mine since he broke in a few years ago with the Penguins. Here was a guy who did not play major junior, did not even make his college team at Western Michigan until his senior year, and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Penguins at the ripe old age of 22. He spent three seasons in Wilkes Barre before getting a break,with Crosby going down with concussion symptoms Letestu made the parent Pens in 2010-11 as a 25 year old rookie. Playing with energy and proving himself to be a premier penalty killer, as a rookie seeing fourth line minutes he scored 14 goals and 27 points and was plus 4.

Last year a slow start plus the return of Sid the Kid prompted a trade for Letestu to Columbus. Most people would have looked on a trade from a premier franchise to the NHL version of the foreign legion with despair, but Letestu got a chance to establish himself as a third line checker who could find the back of the net a bit as well as stop other teams top lines.

This year with all the new bodies Letestu found himself sitting in the press box for the first two games as a healthy scratch. Coach Todd Richards told him to be patient, that Letestu was his utility man, and has a fair 11 points in 18 games, and is one of less than ten players so far this season with even strength, ppower play and short handed goals.

He is the consumate underdog, not a big guy, not fast, not an overpowering shot. Frankly, living in Ohio I watch the Jackets more than I care to admit, and he brings something to the table every night. He never gives an inch, it took him so long to get to where he is at that he wants to hold on for as long as he can. By being a healthy scratch for the first two games Richards reminded Letestu that the key to ice time was hustle, something he never quits doing. He always seems to be in position both offensively and defensively as well. When the Wings play Columbus I notice that he never gives up on a play and it irritates me.

Here is hoping for a nice long career to a guy who came from nowhere and has earned what he has got.

Edited by yave1964
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I liked Letestu when he was with my Pens. He was always favored in the 'Burgh for that underdog mentality. Hated seeing that they'd sent him to Columbus but it was probably best for his career. Stuck behind Crosby, Malkin, at the time Staal, currently Sutter... and Craig Adams on the fourth line... Letestu wasn't going to be playing much here. Good for him and wish him continued success.

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