In the deal with the Oilers, Lombardi received a player who had scored at least 20 goals five times and already had a championship ring. Since arriving in Los Angeles though, Penner has only scored nine regular season goals in 86 games played.
After a rough 2011-12 season, all seemed to be forgotten when he scored one of the biggest goals in team history last May – an overtime, series-ending goal vs. the Coyotes – putting the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
Rather than test free agency a few months later, Penner opted to sign a one-year contract with Lombardi and the Kings.
“(I want) to be part of a team that has stuck with me and believed in me,” he told MayorsManor just after signing his one-year, $3.25 million deal last summer. “I have great teammates, along with the coaching staff, management, Dean (Lombardi), Ron Hextall and everybody else. I just wanted to be part of something special and I didn’t want to have to pack up and readjust to a new team and a new city.”
On the eve of camp opening, Penner was…revving to get started – a chance to build on his success from last spring.
“It’s that good anxiety that you get seeing Daryl and Dean, and just that official feeling,” Penner said of his eagerness to get the season going. “You have that camaraderie and I guess a bit of the hoopla from winning it last year. It’s going to be a fun time to be around.”
Or so he thought.
Penner’s been benched for the Kings’ last three games, starting with a game in Edmonton – his home for nearly four seasons before coming to LA.
Fine, but what’s it going to take for him to get back in the line-up?
“Hopefully not an act of God,” Penner said. “It’s something you deal with as a professional. We’re a team first organization and we got a big win last time, you want to keep that rolling. So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”