Dustin Penner is taking a Zen-like approach to his benching.
Naturally, he’s not happy about being a healthy scratch for the last three games and quite possibly a fourth Thursday night, when the Kings play host to the Nashville Predators. He wasn’t about to sound off publicly about it when approached by reporters after Wednesday’s practice, however.
Penner, a left wing, actually laughed when asked how he was dealing with his recent demotion.
“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s not something I’m seeking counseling about. It’s part of the business when it’s a team-first, win-first organization. I’m waiting like a dog in a car being waiting to be let out.”
Asked if he needed the window rolled down a little bit, Penner joked, “Just an inch so I can’t get my snout out.”
Penner smiled when asked if all the extra post-practice skating has been getting old.
“You’re entitled to your own opinion,” he told a reporter.
“I’m enjoying it,” he added, smiling and chuckling. “I have a new outlook on life. So … I’m in a good place professionally and mentally. So, it’s a lot easier to take this now than it was last year. In my upcoming book I will (explain further).”
Penner said his relationship with Kings coach Darryl Sutter is just fine.
“It’s not like we’re avoiding each other in the halls,” he said.
Asked about his marching orders from Sutter, Penner said, “Just be ready.”
Sutter said he didn’t know when Penner might return to the lineup.
“I watch how he practices to see his pace and what we’re trying to execute,” Sutter said of Penner, who was scoreless in the season’s first two games and then benched for the next three. “And then working him in is no different from (Simon) Gagne (after a recent injury).
“You break it down by position. … There is a one through five position in terms of ratings and how they’re performing and every position there are some guys that are moving up and some guys are moving down. That’s the way it works.”
Sutter grumbled when pressed further about Penner’s performance.
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” Sutter said. “As I just said, I think we’ve got two guys at every position that are playing well and we need five guys at every position. Until we do, we don’t have a chance to win every game. We have a chance to play well, but not win.
“I really don’t want to talk about it because you want me to criticize somebody, right, instead of talking about somebody who’s playing well. Instead of that, I’m talking about a guy who’s not playing. I could care less, to tell you the truth.”