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Hockey Bylsma says Hartnell vs. Letang felt like ‘a guy picking on a guy who had a stroke’

Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang celebrates his goal in the third period of an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Flyers won in overtime 4-3.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma took a shot at Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell for going after Kris Letang, saying it felt a little like "a guy picking on a guy who had a stroke."

In the third period of Saturday's game, Hartnell hit Letang, who was playing his second game back after suffering a stroke in January. Each player was given a two-minute minor for roughing as they mixed it up after the whistle.

After the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win, Bylsma was asked if — even though doctors assured the team and the 26-year-old defenceman that hockey would not put him more at risk for another stroke — he had a little pause seeing Hartnell and Letang shoving each other.

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"I did have that thought when that was going on there," said Bylsma. "(Letang) kind of had the play there and the puck on his skate to try to score a goal. It fell off his stick and the whistle and everything ensued after that. Yeah it does, a guy picking on a guy who had a stroke."

Told of Bylsma's comment regarding Hartnell, Flyers coach Craig Berube fired back.

"Then he shouldn't play," Berube said. "He shouldn't be out there playing, bottom line. It's a stupid comment."

Letang, who scored 10 minutes later, said it's "part of the game."

"I got hit from behind, I turn around and it was him," Letang said. "I was not really shocked. but things happen in the game fast. I don't regret (it)."

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