CRANBERRY, Pa. Kris Letang wanted to have children early in his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.Alex, a son, was born to the defenseman and Catherine Laflamme in Nov. 2012. Six years later, their daughter, Victoria, was born in July 2018.The time since has only validated the decision for Letang, now one point from 700 in the NHL.'It's actually something I discuss with my wife, ' Letang said. 'I say, The reason why I wanted my kids younger, it's because I wanted them to be able to see me play.' I know it's not going to be forever.'To see their dad, what he does every single day, I thought it was something important. Obviously, Victoria at five now, she can realize what I'm doing. She kind of gets it. She likes to play a little bit of hockey when we're all at home.'Letang could become the 29th NHL defenseman to reach 700 points and the third active, joining Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns 844 points; 248 goals, 596 assists and fellow Pittsburgh defenseman Erik Karlsson 776 points; 183 goals, 593 assists.The 36 year old has the most points 699 , goals 157 , assists 542 and games played 1, 019 by a defenseman in Penguins history. He has eight points one goal, seven assists in 14 games this season entering a matchup against the New Jersey Devils at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday 7 p.m. ET; SN PIT https://www.hurricanesprostore.com/hurricanes-hoodies, MSG, SNO, SNE.This season, Letang's 18th in the NHL, has been slightly different, though.Karlsson was acquired by Pittsburgh from San Jose in a three team trade involving the Montreal Canadiens on Aug. 6. Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman last season with 101 points 25 goals, 76 assists in 82 games.He has taken some of Letang's ice time. After trailing Karlsson in average ice time for the first month of the season, Letang is playing 24:32 per game and Karlsson is playing 24:18. Last season Letang averaged 24:51 and the season before he averaged 25:46.More importantly, Karlsson https://www.hurricanesprostore.com/dylan-coghlan-jersey, who has 15 points five goals, 10 assists in 14 games, has replaced Letang at the point on the top power play unit. After beginning the season on the left flank there, Letang has been moved back to the point but on the second unit.Letang is being used more on the penalty kill, averaging 2:46 when short handed. Last season, he averaged 56 seconds.'The game has to come a little slower, but I feel pretty good out there conditioning wise, ' Letang said. 'A little bit of a different role, more on the PK this year. I feel pretty good about that.'Not much else has changed for Letang, who led Penguins defensemen with 41 points 12 goals, 29 assists in 64 games last season.Letang starts practice by stepping through the bench door and sprinting to the opposite end. He is one of the last to leave.Ryan Graves, primarily on a defense pair with Letang this season, said the energy Letang brings is only comparable to that of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.'You see a lot of guys that, when they get older in their career, they're not on the ice as long, ' Graves said. 'They kind of lose their youthfulness. I've known Sid for a while. I know he's like that and he loves the game. Tanger' is kind of the same way, where they don't look or act their age.'You see a guy that's been in the League for 18 years, they maybe don't have the same excitement for it that some of the young guys do. It's nice to see older guys that still enjoy that stuff.'Crosby said Letang has had that impact on young defensemen throughout his NHL career.'Just because you've made it to the NHL doesn't mean you stop learning or that you've made it and you can rest on everything else Andrei Svechnikov Jersey, ' Crosby said. 'I think you have to learn and get better. He's a great example of that every day.'Letang, a three time Stanley Cup champion 2009, 2016, 2017 , has maintained that level through adversity, including two strokes while in the NHL, one at some point late in January 2014 and another on Nov. 28, 2022.Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Letang's dedication is nearly unrivaled.'I think it's very unique, ' Sullivan said. 'When you look at our star players, Kris being one of them, I think I've had the privilege to watch them on a daily basis for close to a decade. I have so much admiration for the work they've put in. I think Tanger' is a guy, he has an incredible work ethic, both with how he trains but also on the ice and working on his game.'Letang said his drive isn't complicated. It really boils down to one thing.'Obviously, winning. I want to win, ' Letang said. 'At the end of the day, this is my passion. This is what I do. This is what I love to do. I come to the rink and I try to do my best.'