Dustin Penner participated in a conference call this afternoon, shortly after he signed a one-year, $3.25-million contract to stay with the Kings…
Question: What was the process like for you? You had talked about wanting to return, but did you talk to other teams or were you confident this would get done?
PENNER: ”We had talked about it a while before the start of free agency occurred. We actually had talked yesterday and there was a deal in principle, so I never got to free agency. My mindset was, I wanted to be on a championship team. In the past, when I was in Anaheim, I kind of flew the coop early. I didn’t get to be part of a championship team the following year, which is something that delayed my signing of the offer sheet (with Edmonton), because I wanted to be part of that. It’s a great organization here with the Kings, great people and I have great teammates. The fans have been unbelievable, and I wanted to be a part of that for another year.’’
Question: Dean mentioned the other day that you might need a procedure done on your wrist. Is everything OK there?
PENNER: ”Yeah. It hasn’t affected my golf game that much, but it’s still something that affects hockey, and I’ll probably have to get something done in the near future.’’
Question: But it’s nothing that would impact you for training camp?
PENNER: ”No, barring a head-on collision, I think I’ll be OK.’’
Question: Someone in your situation could have received a multi-year deal on the open market. Was that something you weighed in your mind, or were you comfortable coming back and kind of having another ‘prove-it’ year?
PENNER: ”I knew there were probably other teams that would have offered me more than a year. Like I said, I had taken the blue pill last time. This time, I wanted to take the red pill, if you follow The Matrix trilogy at all. So, I wanted to see what it was like to be back on a team that I won a championship with. It’s a great opportunity for myself, personally, to have the year I’ve wanted to have as a King. Last year wasn’t anywhere near people’s expectations, and especially my own. I look forward to having that opportunity to redeem myself further.’’
Question: What did it mean to you to win the Stanley Cup for a second time?
PENNER: ‘’It meant a lot from a couple different angles. There was that part of redemption, from that season and from the last season, losing to San Jose. Being able to win a second Cup, not a lot of guys get a chance to win one and I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of two special teams. When you win that second Cup, you really get a better grasp and understanding of what it means. Sometimes you take that first one for granted, if you win it early. I didn’t know if I’d ever win a second one, and now that I’ve won a second one, I want a third one. That’s in my mind now.’’
Question: What was the experience like playing on that line with Richards and Carter?
PENNER: ”We started to develop some pretty good chemistry in the playoffs. I think we obviously have a few more levels to get to, to where we’re clicking on all cylinders and firing on all cylinders. With the talent all three of us have, and the drive to want to get better and be better players and a tougher line to play against, I think the goal and the realistic expectation is to become an even better line next year.’’
Question: What was it like to play for Darryl Sutter?
PENNER: ”Darryl was great. I don’t think you would find anybody who would say one bad word about him from our side. Everybody enjoyed his coaching, and more so his personality. He’s a great person, and that translated into a great coach. He came in there and he was honest with the players. He treated everybody fairly and with respect, and he got the most out of us. So, I had a great time. That was also another contributing factor to me coming back, as well as Dean (Lombardi).’’