Which version of Penner will the Kings get?
This is, admittedly, starting to reach dead-horse territory, but at the same time it’s difficult to understate the importance of Dustin Penner to the Kings’ playoff chances. With top scorer Anze Kopitar out, and with Justin Williams’ status uncertain, Penner is arguably the Kings’ most purely talented scorer (and that’s certainly written with a nod to Dustin Brown). Yet, since he arrived in a trade from Edmonton on Feb. 28, Penner has been inconsistent at best. He had two goals and four assists in his first seven games, but then went without a point in his final 12 regular-season games. Even within those point-free games, there was inconsistency. Some nights, Penner looked active, mobile and aggressive. Other nights, he looked rather passive. Which version of Penner will the Kings get in the playoffs? Or, perhaps more importantly to the Kings, how will Terry Murray be able to bring the “good” Penner onto the ice for the start of the series?
MURRAY: “By talking to him, demanding it. I’ve had several of those meetings, and that’s OK. I thought his effort in the game against Anaheim at home was pretty good. He had his feet moving. There was a good intent in his game. The game at Anaheim, I didn’t like, so we talked about it and he brought the kind of effort that I felt he needed to get to. Now, is there more? Yeah, absolutely. Is there more more potential in there? Do we need more from him? Sure we do. He’s got the potential to make a difference in the game. That’s the reason why we add a player who has skill and size and speed like he does. It’s, `Bring it out every day, every shift.’ We’ve got to get to that area and that time, when we’re looking at him at the end of the day and saying, `That’s an excellent game.”’