Penner talks trade, challenges Matt Greene
Question: Can you describe the emotions of yesterday, and what it felt like to find out you got traded?
PENNER: “This was my sixth trade deadline, and I had made it through five. Whenever this time of year comes around, I’m sure there’s a lot of ribbing on every team going around, and it was pretty evident on our team, being in the position we were in. Every day, it was `Hey Penner, you’re going here or there’ or `You just got traded.’ You don’t really think it’s going to happen, because it hadn’t happened to me yet in my career. Then, I was actually playing ping-pong, just trying to relieve some stress and win some money off of (Shawn) Horcoff. It was 1-1 in the series, and I think it was 7-5 or 9-6 or something like that. That’s when (assistant coach Kelly) Buchberger came in and got I got traded, for the fifth time. This time it was actually true. He was playing pranks on me all day. So it saved me 50 bucks, and I got to see my name on TSN again.”
Question: Things can get competitive with ping-pong around here also…
PENNER: “Really? I’m guessing Greener [Matt Greene] is probably one of the worst. I brought my own paddle, actually, and a wristband.”
Question: Watching from afar, and playing against them, what have your impressions been of the Kings?
PENNER: “I started playing against them six years ago, and that’s when Anze (Kopitar) came into the league. I could see the talent he had then. Every year, I think, this team and this organization and the guys who have been there since then, they’ve gotten better. Obviously they’ve made great draft choices, getting (Drew) Doughty, picking up (Jack) Johnson from Carolina and a bunch of other guys. Getting (Wayne) Simmonds and picking up Smytty [Ryan Smyth]. They’ve got a big, strong, offensive-minded team that knows how to play defense. They’re good at controlling the puck, and that’s the type of team I think you need in the playoffs, one that gets a lot of offensive-zone time and second and third chances. It’s not one-and-done.”
Question: The fact that you played in Anaheim, and already know the area a bit, does that help the transition?
PENNER: “Obviously, if I had to get dealt this is where I want to be. I have my house and I have a car and friends down here. The familiarity is very convenient for me and my family.”
Question: You know, there are some Kings fans who are anxious about the whole Anaheim thing…
PENNER: “Yeah, I know. [smiles] I think I read where somebody is going to boo me no matter what, because they boo everybody from the 2007 Ducks team. The best part for me — and I think Greener can relate — is that there’s always a guy who sits behind the visitor’s bench (at Staples Center) and he’s always all over me. I remember seeing something in Edmonton about how he’s probably one of the best `chirpers’ out there. He was always all over me, saying, `You’re not going anywhere Penner. We don’t need you.’ I’ll ask him if he likes my jersey now. [laughs]”
Question: Things weren’t always easy in Edmonton. Are there things that you learned from that experience, things you take with you going forward?
PENNER: “I’ve definitely learned a lot from my four years there, starting with the offer sheet and the tumultuous second year. It’s the old saying of, `Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my life, and that was another way I view that year, and the four years there. There were ups and downs, and I think I’ll get a better perspective on it in the years to come, not just initially, now, after I’ve left. I think I grew a lot as a person and as a player.”
Question: Do you know Terry Murray at all?
PENNER: “No. I just know his brother, Bryan, who was the one who originally signed me out of Maine (for the Ducks).”
Question: Of course, you were teammates with Stoll and Greene, and lived with Greene for a while. That must have been an experience…
PENNER: “I looked all over Edmonton for a house, for three months, while we sat in his basement playing Guitar Hero. Then one popped up on the cul-de-sac, across from his house. It was too good to be true, so I bought it. Then he snapped his ankle, trying to go end-to-end against the Red Wings — which wasn’t a smart decision — and he got traded shortly after. Then pretty much everybody got traded there, so it was awfully lonely.”
Question: Is Greene good at Guitar Hero?
PENNER: “He was pretty good at Guitar Hero. He’s pretty good at video games. I’m looking forward to playing him in ping-pong. Actually, you can send the challenge out his way.”
Question: Any significance to the number 25?
PENNER: “Actually, I wore that in Maine, my college number. I had some luck with it there. A number is just a number for me. I’m not normally a superstitious guy.”
Question: You mentioned Kopitar earlier. If you end up playing with him, do you have an idea of how your two styles might mesh together?
PENNER: “If I do get a chance to play with him, obviously he’s a big body and I think our styles would blend well together. We can both hold onto the puck and gets pucks to the net. I think, for any offensive-minded team, it’s not always the first shot that’s most important. It’s the second and third opportunities, and that’s what this team, as a whole, gets. They’ve got the D to keep the pucks in, and make those plays at the blue line. Then their forwards, 1 through 12 — and beyond that — are all very skilled and very tough to play against.”