The likely reason why Dustin Penner isn’t playing tonight

Columbus Blue Jackets Mason WWE title
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.

Following Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, goaltender Steve Mason‘s 32-save performance was deemed ‘champion’ material for the evening.

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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John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.

Comments

  1. WWE and Trance music. What a combo!

  2. Pennermania! Get that belt Pancakes!

    On a serious note: I wonder if inconsistent playing time hurts the players performance. Lets get a frigging W guys no OT!

  3. He’s probably just plotting a turn from Pennermania to a Dustin World Order Penner.

  4. Maybe its because he looks like he’d rather be playing video games. Or eating a sandwich. He sure doesn’t look like hustle is on his mind when he lazily mopes up and down the ice. Or with the half hearted sling shots he flings like monkey poo at the net. But hey, paychecking has worked this long for him, why break the streak.

  5. Zhitnik to Donnelly! says

    Would be nice to see more from King/Stoll/Lewis tonight….they were key in the playoffs.

    Go Kings!

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