PDP: say it ain’t so

How many of you here in the Nation woke up today, looked at the point leaders in the league and did a double take? Dustin Penner on the first page… WTF?

No one and I mean no one; thought Dustin Penner would be the Oilers best, and most productive player seven games into the season. If you are still struggling getting a grasp on the NEW Penner, don’t fret you aren’t alone.

Penner’s nine points has him tied for 13th, and his five goals are top ten in the league. Not only is Penner scoring, he is killing penalties and is consistently moving his feet. Penner looks quicker, and while he is loathe to admit it, he’s in better shape.

It doesn’t hurt that Pat Quinn is his coach, and not Craig MacTavish, but I won’t lay all the blame on MacTavish for Penner’s underachieving last two seasons. Penner hasn’t been dedicated enough since signing his twenty-one million dollar deal, until this past summer.

Penner’s off-season conditioning program is paying off, but there’s more than just hard work happening here.

Penner was humiliated and embarrassed last season. Being the coach’s public whipping boy stung him, and I’m sure the Fat Penner references got to him. Penner is quick-witted, with a dry sense of humour, and likes to keep thing light-hearted, but it looks like he took all the pot shots to heart, and set out to prove people wrong.

Penner spent over a month of his summer working out and wondering if he’d be an Oiler or a Senator come September. Do you think that might have motivated him?

Regardless of what motivated him, Penner is living up to his contract so far this year.

First Mike Comrie comes back to Edmonton, and rather than hearing boos, he has his name chanted from the Rexall rowdies, and now Penner is winning over Oiler fans, who for the past two years would have traded him for a bag of pucks and 50 donairs.

Do you think it is possible that we hear chants of "Penn-er, Penn-er!" before the season is over?

If Comrie can win over the fans, why can’t Penner? Seven games won’t erase the memory of the past two seasons, but in sports “what have you done for me lately” reigns supreme, and it seems that many Oiler fans are teetering on the brink of becoming “Dusciples” of the “Pennecostal” church.

BRULE BUSTING OUT

While Penner continues to be the story in Oilerville, very quietly Gilbert Brule has gotten off to a great start. Four goals and seven points has the 6th overall pick in 2005 playing like a top ten pick.

Brule seems to have found the game that the Blue Jackets liked when they called his name four summers ago. He is hitting, using his speed to generate chances and most importantly he has re-discovered his offensive flair.

I said it all summer that Brule was better option than Marc Pouliot as the 4th line center, because Brule plays with the edge necessary to be part of an energy unit. I didn’t think he’d find is offensive game so quickly, in fact, I wasn’t sure if he’d ever find it again.

It is very early to suggest that Brule will come close to producing like this all season, but Quinn loves how he plays, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finding ways to use Brule even more.

Considering that Brule, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner all need new contracts at the end of the season, I can’t see how all three of them stay in Edmonton. One of them will be moved. Who would you move? From where I sit it seems likely that one of them will be moved, but I wonder if the organization would allow Steve Tambellini to trade Sam Gagner?

WIN OILERS TICKETS

Currently on Just A Game we are running a contest where the winner wins a pair of Oiler tickets to see the Red Wings Oct 29th, the Sharks Nov 27th and the Predators on Dec 17th. One winner, three Oiler games.

A few weeks ago I came across this article on Spike.com showcasing the ten most annoying sports fans.

What we are looking for is the three most annoying hockey fans. In a short paragraph for each team, submit why they annoy you. Be witty, cut deeply, display your annoyance with words, but it has to be readable on air. Sir Brownlee, I and Dan Barnes are the final judges. Deadline is Wednesday at 6 p.m. Submit your entry to justagame@theteam1260.com. Good luck. Winner will be announced on air on Thursday.

  • Crash

    And once again…Penner's effort couldn't have been that bad given the results. 17 goals and the top +/- forward on the team with limited ice time….

    He may at times look that way due to his size…he isn't going to fly around like Cogliano. Skill players need ice time.

    Just my opinion

    • Jason Gregor

      Three losses in a row for them..tsk…tsk…Meanwhile the Fish are heating up. I love it. Only good part about the Pats win, was I had Brady in fantasy..Got me 55 points…nice.

  • Gagner v. Gogliano

    I've flipped back and forth on this one here. In year 1, I would've said Gagner, Gagner, Gagner! It wasn't until the 2nd half of last season that I began wondering if that was a mistake. It looked to me Gagner was getting a free-pass by MacT, but not long after, Gagner once again started putting up some points. Then the Heatley trade eRRRR non-trade, and I wondered if they were making the right decision. Ultimately, I thought I'd probably keep Gagner. Throughout training camp & pre-season, I started thinking that not only might Cogliano be better, but Gagner could probably fetch more on the trade market. So is the gap between the 2 players greater than the gap between the returns via trade either would bring?

    The thing is, IMO its not if one of them gets traded, its when – and that, quite obviously, is the key. Bottom line – I'm not so sure this one is easy to predict. I think the question could be asked every 2 weeks with different results each time.

  • Of the possible centers on this team, would the closest thing to Horcoff be O'Sullivan? Defensively reliable, good pk guy, kind of a hard-luck shooter.

    So… is he defensively responsible enough, yet offensively creative enough to play with Hemsky? Could that free Horcoff up to play a key 2nd line scoring/shut-down role?

    Comrie-O'Sullivan-Hemsky

    Penner-Horcoff-Cogliano

    Jacques-Brule-Stortini

    Moreau-Gagner-Stone

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Not going to lie I thought Penner would do alot better under Quinn. I expected 25-25, but now it is clear he could go 30+. It's not only his point production that is impressive it's his all around game. He is now a penalty killer and is getting alot of PP time. Oddly enough he only has 6 hits this year.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    As for having to trade one of Brule, Cogliano or Gagner I don't think it is neccasary yet. I'd wait and see how things go, if none of those guys breaks 50 points how much are they going to get? At the same time if we do trade one of them what do you target in a trade?

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Agreed, especially for Brule. He's had a nice start to the season, but it's way to early to think he's going to need a big contract. As it sits right now I can't see Gagner/Cogs at more then 3/per or Brule at more then 1.75/per.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I guess too Jdd, Stone and Jacques become wild cards next year when they have to be re-signed. At the sametime Nilsson's 2mil could be gone next year too.

  • Dan the Man

    Personally I really enjoy sticking it to people that have doubted me or have criticized me, it really gives me a great deal of pleasure.
    I don't know Dustin Penner personally but I can't help but think that every time he scores he's saying a big FU to MacT in his head.