Not since Bachman-Turner Overdrive has anything so wonderful, and at the same time, so annoying - come out of Manitoba as Dustin Penner.
I was recently down in LA on arena business and was able to watch game 7 of the San Jose LA series. I was pretty drunk at the time, and really did not pay much attention to any specific players but what I do remember is my discussion with an LA season ticket holder in the beer line of that amazing facility. It was the second period intermission and Dustin Penner came up after mentioning I was an Oiler fan.
Me: “What do you think of Dustin Penner?”
LA fan: “He drives me nuts! He can be the slowest player on the the ice. Sometimes he just checks out and doesn’t seem interested at all. So frustrating! I want to kill the guy!”
Me: “Huh. Who’s your favorite player?”
LA fan: “Dustin Penner.”
And so goes the love/hate relatiosnhip with this enigmatic player.
I believe that the Oilers should seriously look at his return to the Copper and Blue.
Why you ask? He’s a bum you say! We ran him out of town! Too many pancake injuries! Too slow. Look at his production last year! Been there, done that!
- He is big: 6′ 5″ and 245+ pounds. No forward on the team come’s even close.
- He has lifted the cup twice. Before the Oilers (Ana 2007), and after (LA 2012). He clearly doesn’t need us to put rings on his fingers.
- He knows this town, its best and its worst… and where to buy the best donairs. But to know this city is to love its frozen charm.
- He doesn’t have to be relied on as the top point producer anymore. Not even top 5. Less expectations can mean better results.
- He has the best sense of humor of any professional athlete I’m aware of. He is a gem. This is entertainment and a business – and love or hate the athlete, you’ve gotta love the man.
- Hes not lazy – it’s physics. A 245 pound 6’5″ man does not look like he is going as fast as a 5’7″ 175 pound man. See below.
- I’ve read some articles and comments stating the numbers guys see him as a good fit.
- I strongly believe, along with a growing number of others, he could really succeed here. Again.
The big questions:
- Can he buy into Dallas Eakins fitness expectations?
- Would he sign a short term deal to see if it could work?
- Would he want to come back to the frozen wasteland? (He did once)
Dustin Penner would add what the pundits say we lack: size and experience. To add to that – he will give us his rapist’s wit. A sense of humor, and someone who can lighten up the mood in that dressing room next season -when inevitably we experience some failure – will be vital.
This 10 year season ticket holder would love to see him back on the Oilers. If only to see him score off a pass from David Perron and let me hold up a sign that reads, “You’ve been Double DP’d!” (Mark my words, we’re in the second row, and I will do it.)
Come home Dustin.