“Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it”—Dustin Penner prior to going -2 with 2 shots on goal against the Sharks on Tuesday.
Now, let’s start things off first by saying that we like Dustin Penner. He rode into town on the heels of a massive contract, and had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He had just won the Stanley Cup and he is from Winkler, Manitoba. Think Edmonton is depressing in January? Try Winkler, Manitoba. It makes us look like New Orleans during Mardi Gras (pre-flood.) Those are some big odds to overcome.
Speaking of long odds, keep in mind this is a dude who has defied the odds by making it to The Show. He was a walk on at the University of Maine after playing in something called the “MSU—Bottineau” in something called the “NJCAA.” He was never drafted into the NHL. He walked into Cincinnati in the AHL; from there teetered between the AHL and the Ducks for a year. Finally, he played a full season last year for the Ducks, incredibly scoring 29 goals and 45 points in 82 games in his rookie season and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Penner’s on pace to beat that this year, people. He has 15 goals and 32 points in 53 games. His PPG this year is 0.603 versus 0.548 last year. His goals per game have fallen off slightly from 0.35 to 0.28, but bear in mind that he’s playing for a team that has a slim chance of making the playoffs, rather than a team that cruised through the regular season and ended up winning the Cup.
Having said all that, we just don’t get how in the heck the Oilers come out so flat against the Sharks on Tuesday. Outshot 39–13, outscored 3–0, outworked 1,000–1, outclassed 4–2, outgunned from here to the second coming of baby Jebus. There weren’t a whole lot of bright spots to stare at last night, happily burning irreparable holes in your retinas. We don’t get how a guy like Dustin Penner, who obviously knows how to battle through adversity, would make a claim like that prior to game time then go out and do absolutely nothing. We don’t get how each and every one of his teammates (except Garon) would follow suit.
We just don’t get it. Do any of you?