The Kings are coming off a mostly solid victory over San Jose, but going into Thursday, it seems as though one lineup change will be made. Dustin Penner has missed eight games with a hand injury, but has been cleared to play. After today’s lengthy practice, Terry Murray reiterated his plan to get Penner back into the lineup Thursday. Where, exactly, remains to be seen, and that will be interesting given that Murray just shuffled his lines. It’s all but certain that Penner would fit onto one of the top three lines.
MURRAY: “He’s gone through a couple weeks of skating, and the doctors have given him clearance to be able to do everything now. So, I am looking at the next game. I will have an opportunity to talk to him tomorrow. I know everyone is very busy, getting out of the building with the Childrens’ Hospital visit, but he feels confident and he’s ready to go.’’
Question: Have you thought about where he might fit in, or if you might want to ease him back in?
MURRAY: “I don’t want to ease him back in. If he’s going to get in, he’s got to play. He’s been out, he’s been doing all of the skating and all of the drills that the extra players do, who are not in the lineup, and he’s got the green light, emotionally and mentally, to go out and play and he’s got to give us everything. Do things right, do things hard.’’
Question: But you haven’t decided exactly where he might play?
MURRAY: “No, I don’t. The first thing that you have to do is, you have to get a place for him on the roster. He’s got to come off the I.R., so there has to be some kind of decision made here, and that’s something we have to talk about as a (management) group.’’