Dustin Penner was my planned feature this week for LAKings.com for this week but, well, that got blown out of the water by another little story that took place. It’s still a fairly interesting note though, so I’ll share it here. This is part of an interview I did with Penner on Monday, when he was coming off a couple solid games. It’s certainly fair to say that Penner is in the middle of his best stretch of play with the Kings, but I thought it was interesting how he analyzed his recent stretch. Penner didn’t pat himself on the back, or seek praise. Rather, he said he can do more. If you’re a Kings fan, that’s good news, because Penner’s production will be a major reason why the Kings either do or don’t turn things around this season.
PENNER: “The last couple games would be my starting point. I wouldn’t want to have a worse game than that. I think I can still build on that, but that kind of game should be easy to call upon for me. That’s the goal.’’
Question: After last season, and the summer and the early-season injuries, it’s been a long road though…
PENNER: “I’ve been at that level before, and higher. It’s just a matter of maintaining it. It’s a mindset. The work during the summer helped, but the (early-season groin) injury kind of inhibited that. Those three weeks (with the hand injury) were kind of a blessing in disguise. The broken knuckle gave my lower body time to heal.’’
Question: You mentioned mindset there. Is that what it is? Is it more about mindset than physical aspects?
PENNER: “Before, in Edmonton, I was more of the main guy looked upon there. Here, you’ve got so many guys that you maybe find yourself taking a back seat to some of these other guys, and that kind of inhibits you from playing your own game. It’s an overall thing. It encompasses everything, from the mindset to the conditioning, which I also worked on in the offseason. I had a good season, which was when the injuries started happening. For me, it is a mindset, just getting to that level and playing with those guys, and not being a spectator.’’