Edmonton Oilers forward Dustin Penner and head coach Craig MacTavish are at it again. Only this time, neither side is saying much to one another.
Penner wasn’t among the top 12 forwards at Monday’s practice, making it likely that he may be a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game in Montreal against the Canadiens.
“I noticed where I was on the lines,” Penner said. “I don’t like it. It would be nice to play (on Tuesday).”
Penner was clear that not being included in the top four lines at practice wasn’t a surprise as he played a season-low 8:16 in Edmonton’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. It was the lowest amount of ice time for any Oiler that night.
“I don’t want to get into it too much with Dustin,” MacTavish said. “We’re at a critical time and we can’t wait for players’ games to round into shape. We need guys to perform.”
Performing on the ice is something that hasn’t been happening for Penner. The Winkler, Manitoba native has no points in nine games, with his last goal coming on Feb. 14th against the LA Kings.
Penner was clearly unhappy about the possibility of not playing Tuesday, proving that he still does care even if the big winger has been criticized for his perceived lack of passion.
In November, MacTavish called out the left winger for his play and fitness level, saying that the 2007 free agent signing wasn’t exactly a hockey marriage made in heaven and it still had three more years to go.
In 63 games this season, Penner has 14 goals and 15 assists with a plus-4 rating.