Dustin Penner's fitness a weighty but happy topic for Kings
The most closely guarded secret during the first day of the Kings’ training camp — more closely guarded even than the team's contract offer to unsigned defenseman Drew Doughty — was Dustin Penner’s weight.
The massive left wing, who contributed only two goals and six points in 19 games after being acquired from Edmonton late last season, said Sept. 11 that he had lost about 10 pounds but didn’t know his weight. Players weighed in Friday but staffers in the Kings’ media relations department said they didn’t get the numbers. Coach Terry Murray said Saturday morning he didn’t know, either, though Murray said Penner’s fitness test results were good.
General Manager Dean Lombardi hunted down the results Saturday afternoon and now it can be disclosed: Penner weighed in between 242 and 243 pounds, down from the 260 he weighed when the Kings acquired him from the Oilers.
Lombardi said Penner is “on the right track,” but still has a ways to go to reach optimal shape. Being in a contract year should be incentive enough for the lumbering left wing to get there.
“It feels good. It’s fun to be out here and get started after a long off-season,” said Penner, who was on a line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams in the day’s second group.
He said his body fat was 4% lower than before — though he wouldn’t say what it had been — and said he didn’t know his weight. But he looked thinner around the face and less like he’s laboring to get going up the ice.
“I tried this new thing where I close my eyes when I step on the scale and I don’t find out until the media guide comes out,” he said. “It’s more exciting that way.
Kopitar and Williams are returning from surgery, Kopitar on his ankle and Williams on his shoulder. Kopitar reported some swelling after his foot was encased in a skate boot for three hours but said he felt good on the ice.
“Not too much pain. It’s still a little sore but that’s just from the swelling,” he said. “It’s more uncomfortable than sore. So I’m not concerned about it at all.”
Williams, who played the Kings’ first-round playoff series against San Jose wearing a protective shoulder harness, said though he wasn’t happy with the team’s early elimination it did afford him more recovery time.
“It’s been over four months now so there’s no issue at all,” he said. “There’s no reservations. The shoulder’s fine and I feel good.
“I’ve been through enough injuries that I’m able to bounce back and get myself mentally ready to play hockey. ... Preseason will be important for me as it will be for a lot of guys.”
He also said the Kings' off-season trade for Mike Richards and the signing of Simon Gagne has made him eager for the season to begin.
“I think our team looks a lot more credible and a lot more scary offensively. I think in turn it probably has a little bit more respect in the league now,” he said.
“It’s an exciting feeling coming in and knowing we’re going to have such a good team and that we’re going to be expected to contend for the crown this year. That, as players, is pretty exciting.”
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-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Kings winger Dustin Penner chats with Coach Terry Murray last spring after being acquired from Edmonton. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times