Found April 30, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
ST. LOUIS, Mo. On Saturday night the southern Manitoba-based Pembina Valley Hawks won the 2012 Esso Cup, Canada's National Female Midget Championship.
It was the mens' midget A team of the same hockey program that in the mid-1990's cut Dustin Penner at a tryout, one of several junior and college programs that said 'thanks, but no thanks' to an eventual Stanley Cup winner whose production has helped lead the Kings to a 5-1 playoff record and a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven second-round series against the St. Louis Blues.
"I remember my mom driving me and my dad driving me to those tryout camps, and always being the first cut. I don't hold a grudge against them. This has all worked out. It just gave me the perseverance and determination to get here," Penner said.
It has certainly worked well for the Kings in the postseason. Reversing a first period effort described by Darryl Sutter on Sunday as being "probably fortunate to be out of it 1-0 seven or eight minutes in," Penner abruptly shifted the momentum of the game by bringing the puck deep into the left corner before patiently weighing his options and offering a pass to a pinching Slava Voynov, who snapped a one-timer past Brian Elliott to tie the game at one. Los Angeles prevailed 3-1, with Penner adding an empty-netter late in the third period.
"Our left wing, the left side and the lack of experience there, he's the logical guy," Sutter said about Penner. It's not so much his production, it's just being able to match up the way they do. They want to play Backes against Kopi, and we're fine with that if they want to continue to do that. So that means that Richie's going to get Berglund. There are some pretty good players McDonald and Steen on the wings, guys with experience, guys that play a 200-foot game so that's Dustin's challenge."
It's just one challenge among many faced by the former Minot State Bottineau power forward who was eventually recognized at a prospects camp in Saskatoon by former University of Maine assistant coach and chief recruiter Grant Standbrook. After traveling to Orono, Maine to take a look at the university the first time he had ever been on a plane he was offered a scholarship.
"I had no idea of its history, or who had played there," Penner recalled.
He redshirted in 2002-03, and in 2003-04 produced a breakthrough season that culminated with the game-winning goal early in the third period of the national semi-final game against Boston College. Though the Black Bears lost 1-0 to Denver University in the championship game despite a six-on-three advantage for over a minute at the end of the third period, it was an unsung campaign that saw him finish the year on the NCAA's All-Tournament Team.
Penner signed with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim shortly thereafter, made his NHL debut a year and a half later and won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007, roughly six years after his emergence from an obscure hockey player in southern Manitoba looking for an NCAA scholarship. Entering Game 2 against St. Louis, he has 23 points in 46 career postseason games.
The feel-good nature of Penner's rise to the NHL sputtered out not long after he left Anaheim. Signed to a controversial five-year, 21.25 million dollar offer sheet by Edmonton as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2007, his point total rose with the Oilers his first year before falling starkly in the 2008-09 season. In November, 2008, then-Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish ripped into his lumbering forward for a perceived lack of competitiveness.
"We thought the contract was a starting point for him, but he views it as a finish line," MacTavish said, as reported by the Edmonton Journal.
That contract expires at the end of the season, and judging by what he's provided in the first handful of postseason games under Sutter, there are still plenty of ways he can help this Kings team in the playoffs.
His goals have come at opportune times. Other than the bank shot empty netter off the side boards against St. Louis which he likened to curling his late third period goal against Vancouver in Game 1 of the first round at this point looks to be one of the more important goals Los Angeles will score this postseason.
Combined with the momentum-shifting first period assist on Voynov's goal Saturday night, Penner's postseason production is outweighing his regular season contributions. While it could provide a boost for his negotiations when free agency strikes this summer, that's not really his greatest concern right now.
Nor is the path-less-traveled route he took to the NHL, though it's still in the back of his mind.
"The older I get, the more I can look back and fully understand," Penner said. "But when you're in that moment, and you have that belief as a player and a person that 'I should be higher up than where I am' and that's not a knock against any of the places I played it's just not the typical route that you use to get to the NHL. It was trial by fire, and I had to learn quickly."
Dustin Penner joined Twitter on Sunday and already has over 12,000 followers. You can find him at @Dustinpenner25
BEST OF MAXIM
If there was ever a simple formula towards winning a playoff series, Darryl Sutter could write a book about it. "Sutter's Law" would be the shortest book ever written.
"Goaltenders, special teams, top players, unsung heroes and discipline," he revealed in a memorable, pithy quote last week. "Write it down and don't forget it."
The Kings are...
A few hours before Game 1 of the second-round playoff series, St. Louis Ken Hitchcock said those expecting a low-scoring game between the Kings and Blues would be "shocked and surprised."
No, not really.
In a game that was every bit as physical and tight-checking as expected, the two teams that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season went down to the wire, and...
On Monday night the Los Angeles Kings took it to the St. Louis Blues in Game Two of their Western Conference Semifinal playoff matchup. The Kings jumped all over St. Louis, shooting out to a 4-0 lead after one period.
Anze Kopitar scored two of those goals, one of them coming when the team was short-handed. The above video shows that goal, as captain Dustin Brown broke up a pass...
ST. LOUIS -- A few weeks ago, before the Kings began their playoff journey, center Jarret Stoll said that as a young player with Edmonton in 2006, he and his No. 8-seeded Oilers teammates gained a lot of confidence from upsetting the No. 1-seeded Detroit Red Wings. Those Oilers went on to the Stanley Cup finals that spring, losing in seven games to Carolina.
Now that the No. 8-seeded...
The Kings stomped on the Blues the way Brock Lesnar stomped on Triple H
This is why I wanted this matchup in the first place. The Blues have very little playoff experience on the back end and thanks to Dwight King face planting Pieterangelo last game, the Blues came out flatter than Olive Oyl.
The Blues had lost only 6 games at home all season. Mike Richards showed Kings fans...
Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff, whipping St. Louis 5-2 Monday night for their fifth straight road win this postseason.
Brad Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Dustin Penner and Dustin Brown each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy of the franchise...
The St. Louis Blues lost game two of their second round series against the Los Angeles Kings in part because of a lack of physical play in a lackluster first period that saw them fall behind 4-0 by the time the first intermission came.
The Blues lost the game 5-2 and played better in the second and third periods, out-shooting the Kings 24-5 in the second and third periods...
There's a warrant out for Jonathan Quick.
It wasn't just a robbery. It was a mugging, an assault with a deadly weapon, and a Krays style beatdown.
Jonathan Quick jacked 'em up.
The last two times the Kings faced the Blues in the playoffs... they were swept both times.
Quick wasn't about to allow 9 straight.
Andy McDonald is going to toss and turn all...
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff, whipping St. Louis 5-2 Monday night for their fifth straight road win this postseason.
Brad Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Dustin Penner and Dustin Brown each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy...
Welcome to Center Ice Chat’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview and Predictions series. With Round 1 in the books as of Thursday night, we take a look at the crop of the few, the proud, the Conference semifinalists.
The Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues have begun the Mirror Series, and there’s no telling who will come out on top, in part, because, there’s no greater...
The LA Kings continued to play a tight, defensive game and it lead to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Defenseman Matt Greene had the game-winning goal, as he joined Dustin Brown on a shorthanded rush and was left alone in front of the next after the original shot was stopped by Brian Elliott.
Last night the road teams won both games, one in dramatic fashion and one by a TKO! The Game 2's featured a little of everything as Washington unexpectedly scored two goals, blew the lead, then won anyway. Los Angeles went on a scoring binge with four markers in the first 20 then coasted to a 5-2 victory to go up 2-0 in their series with St. Louis. The...
Best goal of the night, no doubt, Anze Kopitar’s shorty against the Blues followed below by the best hit of the night from T.J. Oshie on Dustin Penner.
Continue reading "Video- My Best Of The Night"