Given his strong playoff run, and particularly his series-clinching goal against Phoenix, Dustin Penner has become an unlikely media darling. Mostly ignored at best, and ridiculed at worst, during the regular season, Penner is now drawing crowds, both because of his play and because of his sharp, witty sense of humor. Penner talked after Game 5. He did a conference call the next day. He did a media session yesterday. He talked to reporters again today. The man needs a talent agent these days. Of course, Penner well knows that the attention and kudos only last as long as his solid play continues, but throughout this season, Penner has maintained a good cheer and has been friendly and cooperative even as he admittedly struggled on the ice. He’s well-known for his wry sense of humor, and everyone is a potential target, but Penner can take it as well as he gives it. Asked about his comedy influences, Penner cited the late Patrice O’Neal, plus Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, and offered one of his general philosophies on life: “People shouldn’t try to find ways to be offended, they should try to find ways to laugh,’’ Penner said. And where did this sense of humor come from?
PENNER: “There definitely is some genetics to it. My mom is a bit of a smart-ass, but it’s witty. She’s not just doing it to be mean. My grandpa was pretty witty. I think he went to the Pan-Am Games, and he pulled up — he has passed away now, so I won’t get him in trouble — he pulled up to the handicapped entrance for the Pan-Am Games. They said, `Sir, you can’t park there,’ and he said, `What do you mean? I only have one left leg.’ They said, `Oh, sir, go ahead.’’’
Anze Kopitar grinned when asked how best to describe Penner’s sense of humor…
KOPITAR: “Probably very sarcastic, I would say. I guess you’ve got to hang out with him quite a bit before you understand him. To be honest, I had trouble at first, when he got here, but once you hang out with him, it’s pretty funny.’’