Darryl Sutter

Darryl Sutter won’t play Dustin Penner until he works his “ass off”


Relatively speaking, Dustin Penner has been playing a little bit better the last couple months. The key phrase is “relatively speaking,” though, as he started off the 2011-12 season as a chunkier, less-compensated version of Scott Gomez.

The burly winger has been a healthy scratch for the last two games and only received 11:25 minutes of ice time in his last appearance, so it seems like he’s floating out of the Los Angeles Kings’ picture again. Matt Reitz caught up with Darryl Sutter, who provided a very blunt assessment of Penner:

Q: What’s the scenario for Penner right now?  What’s the message or what do you need to see?

Sutter: “Work your ass off. Then you get a chance to play again. If you don’t, you don’t. It’s pretty clear.”

Q: Is he back to square one as far as that’s concerned?

Sutter: “I think when you’re told to work your ass off, that IS square one.”

So, yeah … Penner’s not exactly in a great place right now. If the Kings want to unload the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent before the trade deadline, it’ll be pretty tough for GM Dean Lombardi to talk up the big winger’s value as anything more than an expiring contract.

That expiring contract is the most surprising part of this equation, though. You’d think if anything would get Penner motivated, it would be the prospect of earning another lucrative contract.

Instead, Penner’s game has been as flat as, well, a pancake.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.