With the Kings off to a 2-3-2 start in the early going this season, coach Darry Sutter has yet to find a winning combination that can sustain any type of success.
And Dustin Penner appears to be the guy taking the brunt of things at the moment.
The 6-foot-4 left wing was widely credited as being one of the team’s best forwards in their opening day loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. However, after some poor defensive play in their next game vs. Colorado, Penner found himself a healthy scratch (read: benched) for the next four games.
While it certainly shouldn’t be called a triumphant comeback, he was re-inserted into the line-up for the Kings’ last game – Saturday night in Anaheim, against his old team.
“It was nice to be back, but wanted a better result,” Penner said, as he sat dejected back in the locker room.
The usually talkative Manitoba native had few words following the team’s 7-4 loss.
Penner played a total of 11:48, all but 22 seconds of that at even-strength. During that time, he generated one shot on goal and recorded three hits.
He described his play as “not bad” and shared that he “felt stronger” as the game went on.
Even as he looked ahead to the Kings current road trip, he again didn’t offer much – only saying, “I’m looking forward to playing and getting a chance to earn two points.”
Unfortunately, that chance won’t be coming tonight in Columbus. Sutter has decided to put Dwight King back in the line-up.
In his young career, King has only faced the Blue Jackets twice. He didn’t record a point in either game.
By comparison, Penner has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 24 games vs the Blue Jackets.
King was also held held pointless in the first six Kings games this season.
So, it this move isn’t because of any past trends.
Which leads us to the photo above.
According to reports, the Blue Jackets’ players get together after each game and award a replica WWE title belt to the guy most deserving that particular night.
Now, it’s no secret that Penner is a huge wrestling fan. In fact, he’s even joked about giving it a try after he hangs up the hockey skates for good.
So, what if Penner asked out of the game tonight? If he knows about that belt, he surely wants it.
Perhaps he plans on leaving the press box during the second period, breaking into the Jackets room and just taking it.
Seems like the perfect wrestling angle.
Somewhere Jesse Ventura would be uttering his famous phrase – ‘Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.’
Or maybe the late, great Eddie Guerrero’s ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’ would be more appropriate.
Either way, Ric Flair would definitely approve.
Somebody hit Penner’s music…
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