Throughout his career, there haven’t been a lot of mysteries about Dustin Penner. In his two previous stops — Anaheim and Edmonton — Penner has been praised for his immense talent and come under criticism for inconsistency on the work-ethic side of the ledger. The Kings acquired Penner from Edmonton on Feb. 28, in exchange for prospect Colten Teubert and two draft picks. Penner had two goals and four assists in his first seven games with the Kings but now has failed to record a point in eight consecutive games. Injuries to Penner’s two initial linemates, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, haven’t helped the issue. After practice today, Terry Murray said he was pleased with Penner’s game Saturday against Dallas, which came after Murray had a chat with Penner about work ethic…
MURRAY: “I liked what he did below the tops of the circles in the offensive zone last night. Actually, I talked to him about it on the ice, after the practice was over. We did have a meeting the day before, and reviewed different areas of the game and what’s required. I thought his intensity and his strength on the puck was exactly what he needs to keep building on in order for good things to happen. Don’t worry about the goals, don’t worry about the assists, don’t worry about the points. Bring the work, bring the intensity, bring an attitude in that offensive zone and good things will happen as a result of that.”
Question: In terms of the work ethic, were you seeing enough?
MURRAY: “I was not. I’m not going to be stick-handling around it. I was not, and he knows that. That’s what it’s all about, to me. You’re a pro athlete. The number-one thing you have to do as a player is bring work, every day. Everything else will fall into place after that. If you have that kind of an attitude, to do the things that are necessary off the ice, on the ice, in the offseason, you make hard work a part of your life. That’s what you do, so that when get on the ice, it’s just instinctive and you play that way. So I needed to see more. That was the basis of the meeting, and I liked what I saw. I saw the improvement. I saw a greater intention to get things accomplished in the offensive part of the game. So it’s a good start.”