|Penner remains out for Kings (photo: D. Sheehan)|
On second thought… Dustin Penner will not be in the Kings line-up tomorrow night versus Florida. After indicating as such earlier in the week, coach Terry Murray said he’s ‘not quite’ ready yet. He also assured the small group gathered to speak with him after practice today that Penner didn’t have any sort of a setback, describing him as ‘getting closer.’
About an hour later, Penner was the last player off the ice at practice and we had a chance to catch up on a few things…
MM: So, (Trevor) Lewis tells me that (Mike) Richards likes to eat candy. I remember last year you saying you were trying to get off the Sour Patch Kids. Has that been a problem this year, with him sitting next to you?
DP: No, he shares and we have an understanding – ‘What’s yours is mine.’ So, we’ve strengthened our friendship through Sour Patch Kids.
MM: You might be able to bully him into sharing, given the size difference. But, what about the guy to your right [Kevin Westgarth]?
DP: Westy usually just mostly grunts. We don’t talk unless I’m grunting with him.
MM: Is it intimidating at all, having to sit next to a Princeton grad?
DP: No, I went to Maine.
MM: Oh, that’s the same level now?
MM: How about the hand, what’s going on?
DP: Still attached. Still swollen. Probably a couple more days and it shouldn’t be a problem.
MM: What happened in the last 48 hours? How did things go from you being back tomorrow night to now waiting a little longer?
(note: Alec Martinez, the only other guy in the locker room at the time, chimed in with some apparent triumphs he’s recently had playing video games with Penner – to which Penner immediately ran with…)
DP: I hurt myself in Call of Duty.
MM: Maybe you need to lay off the Xbox then…
DP: Actually, that’s what was speeding up my recovery initially. (now back to being serious) But, it’s actually a given-and-take thing. If you come back a little too early, and risk hurting it on a freak accident, it will end up delaying you even more than if you would have ended up waiting the extra two days.
MM: Did you go to them or did they come to you?
DP: It was an open discussion.
MM: With the next few games being Florida and Montreal, does that play into the decision at all? Say, if the Kings were playing a division rival like Anaheim, would that probably push you to come back too soon?
DP: Yeah, I think as you get older, you try to get a little wiser, a little smarter about how you handle injuries. For me, I haven’t dealt with injuries before, up until this year. That being said, I’ve had the benefit of watching a lot of my teammates go through injuries (over the years) – some rushed them, some prolonged them. I think I have a pretty good grasp on what my body needs, as far as rest and recovery, with an injury. As much as I want to get back in the line-up, I think it’s worth the extra couple days.
Regarding what the plan will be once Penner is determined ready, Murray once again made his intentions clear – “I always believe that you put your best players into the lineup whenever you’re ready to go, and you play those guys. Penner is a good player, and we’re just waiting our time for him to get a little bit better before he goes in.”
Of course, for that to happen, the Kings will need to make a roster move. In a poll run here on MayorsManor yesterday, 33% felt the team should send Andrei Loktionov back to Manchester to clear a spot, while 30% said waiving Trent Hunter was the call they would make if they were GM Dean Lombardi (full results available here).
If you’d like some more comedy from Penner – and some slightly seriousness stuff mixed in – check out the links below.