Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Penner says Moreau adds more leadership to the LA Kings

If you're a free agent hockey player still looking for a job, here's a word to the wise - put your stats away for now and hold up a sign that says 'have letter, will travel.'

That is, if you have one.

LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been collecting former captains and assistants this summer - from Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, to his latest signee, Ethan Moreau.

Yes, he's another former Oiler - joining Dustin Penner, Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll among others.

However, Moreau is also the former captain in Edmonton, something Penner thinks shouldn't go unnoticed.

"He's captained a Canadian franchise, in a market that can be hard to play in," began Penner when we spoke by phone yesterday afternoon. "He's a great addition to our team and I think he's an important piece of the puzzle."

Although they were last in the same dressing room during the 2009-10 season, Penner said - "I've been in regular contact with him since the day we stopped playing together."

In fact, they've spoken several times over the last few weeks and Moreau sent Penner a text right after he caught wind he was going to be with the Kings.

At this point in his career, Moreau is a guy who will be looked to for more than goals and assists. And Penner understands why.

"He's great in the locker room," Penner said of his former Oilers teammate. "His work ethic, his competitiveness and skill are all assets that any team can use. He's a really funny guy, with great character. He's a pleasure to be around a pleasure to play with. He also brings grit and determination. So, I'm pretty happy we got him."

Penner was also quick to point out that Moreau understands how to help ease younger players into the National Hockey League.

"To be a captain," he explained, "your leadership capabilities have to span across different generations. So, he was great with the younger Oilers players. I think if you asked the young guys in Edmonton, they'd have nothing bad to say about him. He's very helpful. He was a hands on captain. You could talk to him, you could approach him and he's very good at deciphering what a coach is trying to get across to a young guy."

It may not be Edmonton, yet Los Angeles was a rough place to play towards the end of last season too. However, that didn't sour Penner towards anything he might have shared with Moreau about joining the Kings.

"I think we're a team that's right on the cusp of being a Stanley Cup team, going deep into the playoffs," Penner said, with plenty of excitement in his voice. "We have all the tools, especially with (adding Richards and Gagne) this summer. It's similar to where we were with the Ducks my first year. We were almost there, but we weren't quite there. Then, we made some acquisitions in the off-season and the next year we won it all. So, there are some similarities as far as that goes. Now it depends on us players and coaches and how we put it all together on the ice."

Penner's made a few visits to MayorsManor this off-season (links at the end of this article), and as he stated then, he's dedicated this summer to getting in the best shape possible.

"I've been skating now for about a month, both in Orange County and up at TSC (in El Segundo)," said Penner. "So, before camp opens, I'll be putting in another two or three weeks of workouts to get ready for the season. I can't wait for the off-season to be over!"

What about his jersey number - with Alexei Ponikarovsky no longer on the roster, will Penner be switching back to his more familiar #27?

"I don't know yet," he shared. "I heard Marty (Alec Martinez) might go to #27, which doesn't bother me. But, we kinda want him to go with #55 for Cinco de Mayo. So, it depends on Marty."

Vaya para él Marty!



The Mayor
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RELATED ARTICLES:

Welcome to the Dustin Penner comedy hour - talking his crazy summer workouts, NHL marketing, etc.

Kings coach Terry Murray 'starting to see some signs of progress' from Dustin Penner

No June Gloom for Kings LW Dustin Penner - talking trades and other off-season notes

Dustin Penner comments on PennerMania

Penner explains the Penner Cup

Dustin Penner on his possible 'out body experience'

Ian Laperriere on the Mike Richards vs. Chris Pronger feud



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4 comments:

  1. Great read, as always. Thank you.

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  2. Great read guys. Keep up the great work!

    Penner, how to put it nicely, was not the greatest in the series vs the Sharks last season, and I...wasn't all too pleased with him for it. Now Im wondering if he might just become a fan favorite. Unless he's just really good at pretending through the media, sounds like he's not only getting into good shape, but actually working harder than anyone else on the Kings. Hes got a great personality too. If he stops working now it won't do much good, but if he keeps it up the fans will love him all the more for it, and more importantly he will be able to contribute positively to the Kings going deep in the playoffs, as opposed to negatively.

    But DUSTIN, if you're reading this, getting in shape is just the first step! It's what being in shape allows you to do on on the ice that matters. What do I mean by this? Of course being in shape will help your offense and speed and stamina without you changing anything. But one thing it won't do by itself unless you start doing it consciously is make you hit more! You're so big, you have to run people over! Please!

    Don't think it matters? Just look what happened to the Sharks. Kronwall and company wore them down so badly during the Detroit series, they ended up losing seven of their last nine games!

    This is a team you guys couldn't even beat three times out of six, but then they lost their last seven out of nine? Clearly something changed. That's the power of hitting. And you could have worn them down before the conference finals, you could have worn them down even in the first round, so it would benefit you, not just the teams afterwards, if you guys had hit them more. Guys like Matt Greene did a great job in the first two games, but your team as a whole let up as the series went on, and you, Mr. Penner, never did your part to begin with. And the truth is, you shouldn't even be doing just your part. If you're defining "your part" as just providing 1/18th of the hits every game (because you have 18 skaters), that's not good enough. You're bigger, stronger, more dominant than most other players. You should be destroying people with clean hit after clean hit, wearing the other team's best players down. If you don't want to injure yourself or wear yourself down too much, then just don't hit the big guys. Don't go after Doug Murray, or even Joe Thornton. But imagine the impact you could have had if you ran over guys like Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Kyle Wellwood two or three times a game last postseason? Those are important players for them, and if you slow them down, the whole series changes. And you had the power to do that without hurting yourself at all because they are so much smaller than you, but for some reason you didn't!

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  3. cont So next year, if you face the Sharks in the postseason, you need to be running over Couture and Pavelski every chance you get. Much smaller guys on the Canucks like Chris Higgins and Kevin Bieksa did this a bunch, and it worked for them, so if you really want to win that Cup again, if you really want to get your buddy Moreau a Cup before he retires, you have to play physical. You have all the tools to be a dominant power forward that doesn't just score, but also wears the other team down. Please start doing this! If you don't want to wear your body down in the regular season, that's fine! You can't turn the switch for a lot of things, but this is one of those things where you can turn a switch. You don't have to hit at all in the regular season if you don't want to, but come playoff time, if you're really serious about winning, it's imperative, at least against the smaller guys.

    This is not the Ducks of 2007, Dustin. You don't have Chris Pronger and guys like that on your roster to wear the other team down for you. That's you now. You have to step up and do it yourself. I can't stress how important, and how much it can swing a series in your favor, that laying two or three monster hits a game on their key players is. It's very important, and you have the size, strength, and skating ability to catch these guys and then hit them. Please do that next postseason! It's a big key to winning. You won't win without doing it.

    ReplyDelete