No joke: Dustin Penner’s been a force for Kings


Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner’s had a strange ride since being traded from the Edmonton Oilers during the 2011 deadline.* The beefy winger has already gotten some nice attention for joining Twitter on Sunday, particularly for his self-deprecating humor (he lists IHOP as his home page), yet he hasn’t received a ton of praise for his work on the ice in some time.

Well, unless you look at the postseason, that is.

While I’m sure Darryl Sutter could poke holes in his work – and maybe statheads have some reasonable formulas that show that he’s been lucky more than anything else – there’s a noticeable jump in Penner’s step lately. Sure, there were dumb-luck moments like his hilarious empty-netter from Game 1 against the Blues, but he’s also using his big body to open up space and create chances.

Penner’s been especially effective in the first two games against St. Louis. He had two assists tonight to go with that wacky empty-netter and a helper in Game 1. That’s four out of his six postseason points in those two evenings, but it’s more than just that.

Physical presence

From taking a thunderous hit from T.J. Oshie that generated quite a skirmish (including some knuckle sandwiches exchanged between Oshie and Mike Richards) to other rougher bits, Penner was very much in the thick of things.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Before the playoffs, many would say he was just thick.

It’s tough to overlook the fact that Penner’s conveniently turning into the guy the Kings traded for during the playoffs in a contract year, but take heart Kings fans: the last time he played for a contract, his team (the Ducks) raised the Stanley Cup.

* – One could argue he’s had a strange ride since winning a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks, really.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

Leave a comment

On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
AP Photo
Leave a comment

As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.