When Dustin Penner had a full head of steam while making his way to the opposition’s net, the voice of the Oilers on Rogers Sportsnet Kevin Quinn would often call the hulking winger, “the ‘D-Train.” Well the D-Train arrives in Edmonton Tuesday night with the Los Angeles Kings for the first time since he was railroaded out of town.
Alright, he wasn’t railroaded out of town but you know me and puns. I just thought I would throw that in there. Penner was simply traded but upon his departure it’s neat to look back on a player who was much-maligned during his time in Oil Country. He was never fast enough or tough enough and at times, he became the coach and the public’s whipping boy.
However, now that he’s not around anymore maybe it’s worth looking back at what he did do for Edmonton.
Fantasy notes: No Anze Kopitar. No Justin Williams. Not a good time to be a Kings’ fantasy owner or a fan of the team these days, just weeks away from the playoffs. Jordan Eberle is only three points shy of the 42-point plateau, which has felled three Oilers with season-ending injuries so far. The Oilers have not confirmed rumours that Eberle will finish out the season encased in bubble wrap.
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First off, he played hurt a lot when he was an Oiler and considering how many top-end players have been injured this year and previous years, that’s quite a feat. He missed a total of four games in his almost four seasons. A couple of those absences were not for being hurt or ill, Penner was just a healthy scratch after he got ripped for everything but what he wore for Halloween when he was eight year’s old by former head coach Craig MacTavish.
What happened back then was ugly and embarrassing, mostly for Penner, but instead of getting mad he stepped up and became a better player. That showed last year when Penner did something else he was pretty good at and scored goals. Thirty-two of them in fact and he set up another 31 markers as well. Penner was involved in 63 of the 214 goals the Oilers scored. This year, Penner was tied for the team lead in goals with 21 before he was traded and probably would have finished near or above the 30-goal mark once again.
During his years in Edmonton Penner became a husband as he was married during the All-Star break and became a genuinely good guy. I know he sometimes seemed coy and a smartass with the media but the one thing I always thought about Dustin Penner is that he cared about what he did and those he was around.
The most emotional moment for him after he was dealt was his goodbye with Joey Moss. This season Penner had bought the long-time Oiler employee sneakers with his name on them.
A nice touch from a big man with a good heart and good hands. Two things missing after D-Train left town.