Sutter: Penner ‘hasn’t played well enough,’ but will remain in Kings lineup


Dustin Penner is back in Darryl Sutter’s doghouse.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Following Tuesday’s “sloppy” shootout loss to the Sharks, Sutter took issue with Penner’s play as of late — but said he wasn’t going to park the burly winger like he did earlier in the year.

“[Penner’s] going to have to play a lot better,” Sutter told LA Kings Insider. “We’re trying to make the playoffs here, and it’s similar to last year where we just made a decision later in the year that we were going to play him and basically see what happens, and that’s kind of what I’m doing now.”

Penner has just two goals and 12 points in 29 games this season, and was a healthy scratch seven times at the beginning of the season.

(As Lisa Dillman of the LA Times notes: “If you examine a wider sample, [Penner] has nine goals in 94 games since the start of last season.”)

The 6-foot-4, 242-pound forward only recently came back from a lower-body injury, and is still trying to find his form.

But Tuesday’s effort against San Jose didn’t offer much optimism, as Penner went minus-1 with one shot on goal in just over 11 minutes of ice time.

Sutter said benching Penner again isn’t an option.

The Kings (53 points) are comfortably in a playoff spot — six points up on ninth-place Detroit — but could easily fall down the ladder given San Jose (53 points), Minnesota (51) and St. Louis (50) are all right on their heels.

“There’s no deep, dark answer or anything like that,” Sutter said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. How’s he played? He hasn’t played well enough.

“But that’s obvious — we’ve played 40 games and he’s got two goals.”

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer