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March 3, 2011 12:15 pm

Penner set for Kings debut

The chemistry experiment begins tonight, as the Kings hope that new addition Dustin Penner clicks with first-line center Anze Kopitar (and right winger Wayne Simmonds) as quickly as possible. Kopitar and Penner have been largely joined at the hip during their first two practices together, trying to get to know each other’s games and on-ice nuances, but it’s only natural that it will take a little time for the new teammates to adjust to each other. Penner and Kopitar will play together at even strength and on the power play, and after today’s morning skate, Kopitar talked about his new lineman…

KOPITAR: “He’s a great guy. I thought we hit it off fairly good. I’m starting to get to know him a little more, obviously. It’s tough to do everything in one day. But I played against him when he was in Anaheim and in Edmonton lately, and I think I know what his strengths are. It will still probably take a little bit of time to build the chemistry, but I think we hit it off good.”

Question: Is it fair to say that tonight might be a little more instinctive, as far as the two of you reacting to each other?

KOPITAR: “I’m sure it will be a lot of reading off each other, but that’s fine. It is what it is. You’ve got to read the play anyway, so if I have to do a little more, it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re doing the right stuff, it’s fine. We’ve got to get the puck in there, in the offensive zone. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Terry Murray also talked about Penner’s addition. I asked Murray about the balance of the last 48 hours, the balance between giving Penner in-depth instruction on the systems but not overloading him…

MURRAY: “He’s a very intelligent guy, and a lot of information went his way, from the time that we got him at the airport. He came into the building at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Both special teams were reviewed yesterday, and we’ll go back at it after the practice, with the 5-on-5 system play, with myself and Jamie (Kompon) after that. There is a lot, and we know there is going to be some hesitation, probably, in a few situations that will happen out there tonight, but you’ve got to work through it as quickly as possible.”

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