Dustin Penner is schedule to be activated from injured reserve and rejoin the Kings’ lineup tomorrow. Yes, really. Terry Murray indicated the same thing in advance of Thursday’s game, but decided that Penner needed more time to recover from his hand injury. Now, it seems, Penner is ready to go, after missing nine consecutive games, and will move into a second-line left-wing role alongside center Jarret Stoll and right winger Justin Williams.
MURRAY: “Penner is ready to go, yes. And I’m certain of that. As far as health-wise and skating, he’s in the best condition that he’s been since he’s been an L.A. King. He’s been through three weeks of hard work, and he has poured a lot into it. He’s skating very well, and that is the demands that I will put on him. … It’s a good opportunity for Penner coming back in. He’s very hungry. He wants to show that he’s a major contributor to this team, so the opportunity starts tomorrow.’’
Both Murray and general manager Dean Lombardi indicated today that Penner is in even better shape now than when he reported to training camp.
MURRAY: “You can tell because he’s in an athletic position when he’s skating now. I think, in the past, post-training camp even, he was out of the lineup with a groin pull after a couple games in Europe, then he has the injury. So there’s a little bit of straight-legged, just kind of walking around the ice more than pushing and jumping into the play and anticipating things. Right now, we’re seeing an athletic base, an athletic player that is pursuing pucks and attacking with the puck. That’s a big, big difference in his body language, to me, than what I saw early in the training camp.’’