Apparently Rob Tychkowski Dislikes Dustin Penner

Dustin Penner

It probably isn’t a good idea to read Rob Tychkowski’s latest column if you’re at all a fan of Dustin Penner, as I am. An excerpt:

Shut out. Out-shot 17-5 in the second period. And as you looked down at that flea-bitten dog Thursday night you couldn’t help wondering if some of those players even care.

Dustin Penner, the NHL poster boy for comfort zones and inconsistency, refused to comment on the state of the team yesterday. “There’s other guys in there to talk to,” he sniffed as he walked out of the dressing room at Millenium Place. Leaving the unpleasant work for somebody else? Why should his interviews be any different than so many of his games?

Those are some fairly gratuitous shots at Penner, so I thought I’d see how he performed against the Blue Jackets in that 1-0 loss. His stats sheet didn’t show anything atrocious – 2 shot (leading all Oilers forwards), 3 shots directed at net (leading all Oilers forwards), 1 hit, 14:27 TOI (behind six other forwards, including Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani).

So, I went over to the scoring chances count that Dennis has been logging: 8 chances for, 7 chances against, numbers that put him ahead of his usual linemates from that game (Horcoff and Hemsky).

Then I went over to Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice tool to see who Penner had played against. Here are the top two defensemen and top three forwards he played against in terms of ice-time vs. Columbus:

Rick Nash – 6.1 minutes
Jason Williams – 4.9 minutes
Jakub Voracek – 4.2 minutes

Jan Hejda – 7.3 minutes
Mike Commodore – 6.8 minutes

So Penner was playing in a power-vs.-power role with Horcoff and Hemsky against Rick Nash’s line for the majority of the evening. His ice-time is only average, but despite that he comes out on top in scoring chances and leads all Oilers forwards in shots and shots directed on net.

With Dustin Penner on the ice, the Oilers directed 15 shots at the Columbus net while only allowing 12 the other way (+3). Of the 16 even-strength shots the Oilers took that reached the net, 9 of them were recorded with Penner on the ice. Let’s contrast that with, say, Ethan Moreau. Moreau was on the ice for 2 shots for and 12 shots against. That’s a 6:1 ratio, folks.

I can understand some anger at Penner; he’s rather indifferent with the media (I’ve seen him shoot down Principe a few times) and he just looks lazy sometimes on the ice. That said, the media was awfully quick to rip him a new one whenever MacTavish sat him, so perhaps Penner has some reasonable resentment. The most important point is that against Columbus Penner wasn’t part of the problem. Just for the record, here is how every player ranked in terms of shots for and against in that game:

Penner: (9/6) +3
Horcoff: (9/8) +1
Cole: (5/4) +1
Stortini: (2/1) +1
Hemsky: (9/9) EV
Gagner: (5/5) EV
Reddox: (0/1) -1
Nilsson: (3/5) -2
Cogliano: (2/7) -5
Brodziak (0/6) -6
Pisani: (0/8) -8
Moreau (2/12) -10

Gilbert: (10/6) +4
Smid: (6/7) -1
Strudwick: (1/3) -2
Peckham: (4/7) -3
Souray: (6/10) -4
Staios: (5/15) -10

I’d say the problems against Columbus are fairly apparent; obviously you can’t judge a player’s entire contribution by the shot clock but looking at the numbers at the bottom of this list isn’t it obvious who wasn’t getting the job done? Since we’re looking at that list, the fact that Steve Staios led all players in ice-time (25:07) probably reflects on the coaching staff, doesn’t it?

I think it’s probably fair to say that Rob Tychowski was venting his personal feelings when he took those shots at Penner, rather than making an unbiased comment on the game against Columbus.

  • Hippy

    W.T. votes for Deep Oil and Pokie to take over writing for the Sun. As least then everyone would be informed. As for Penner, W.T. thinks he should enter the Powder Puff races in Lamont this weekend, it fits his on ice performance to a T.

  • Hippy

    Sing A Song For SingSing wrote:

    Plus that on-ice, chances/shots for & against stat is almost totally bogus IMO.

    On the other hand, virtually every team in the NHL seems to track chances for and against. Are they wrong?

  • Hippy

    Rin: Oh, yeah, I'm with you for sure. First when 37 went down, I called Gregor and opined that we wouldn't fare well moving both 5 and 24 into top four roles because they just couldn't handle it. 24's past his prime and 5's still prone to the dumb mistakes you see on a lesser basis from say even say guys like 44 and 77. And the difference is that even though 5's beginning to lug the puck on a more consistent basis, he's got no vision when it comes to playmaking and I've yet to see him step into the slot to create a chance like say would a 37-77. He's a pure defensive dman who's not overly great in that role but is worth keeping an eye on because he's still played less than 225 GP and right now he's not costing too much.

    Sing: Not getting into my chances experiment but Corsi – shots directed towards the net – is a pretty good indication of success.

    So just looking at that metric, what the 1-0 loss vs CBJ proves is that the Oilers were in much better shape with 27 on the ice than say 18; I select Moreau because he's also a left-winger.

    Not to mention that 27 was matched up against the Jackets best.

    All that stuff matters, IMO.

  • Hippy

    Big deal. Penner sucks.

    Plus that on-ice, chances/shots for & against stat is almost totally bogus IMO.

    What does it even prove from Thursday nights game against the BJ's? What does it matter? The whole team was brutal and they ended up losing 1-0 anyways. I was at the game and hardly noticed Penner the entire night.

    He had flashes in first period, but that was pretty much it.

  • Hippy

    @ Dennis:

    We may not have a legitimate top 4 with Visnovsky out- but I can guarantee you that Stais is NOT the answer to try and fill the hole.

    Just another example of a square peg in round hole….

  • Hippy

    Rindog: Just wanted to add that we're not unlike a lot of other teams in this regard but we really don't have a top four D with 71 gone.

    And I think this stretch has shown that he's the best blueliner we have.

  • Hippy

    If you want to go Big Picture and opine that 27's ticket is The topic because it hinders overall team building, then you've got a point.

    And you also look to the guy that signed him and kudos to Robert T for taking a nice little backhand at Kevin "Vish Throttler" Lowe with his remark in the middle of that piece!

    So, yeah, it Does matter how much 27's making because we're operating under a cap system. Still, though, the ice tilts in the right direction when the big guy's on the ice. So, while I do believe he's overpaid, I've never seen a guy take so many shots from the media and I've read the sports online sports sections of both dailies for the last 10 years.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I thinks it falls under the same logistical thinking as watching a guy like Pouliot do absolutely nothing all year, then play horrible for a couple of weeks, get scratched and then get promoted the 2nd line?

    Can you explain that one?

    Or maybe you can explain how our coaching staff decides to put Grebeshkov with Gilbert for tonight's game?

    Why would he put our two best puck moving defensemen in the same pairing?

    Why is Staios still with Souray now that Grebsehkov is back? (Did Gilbert and Souray not play well together?)

    Has Smid not earned the right to move up to the top 4 (in place of Staios) with his play of late?

    MacT even admitted that Staios can not handle the bigger minutes?

    Doesn't this make much more sense?

    44 77
    5 37
    43 24

  • Hippy

    Here's the thing with Penner: based on watching him play, he often looks lazy and unmotivated.

    However, despite his occasional laziness or lack of motivation, his results have actually been fairly good.

    What angers me is how Craig MacTavish will often demote Penner in favour of Erik Cole or Ethan Moreau, despite the fact that Penner's results are clearly superior.

    Penner is what he is: a big, offensively capable forward with motivation/consistency issues. He's also been a better option on the first line LW and on the first unit powerplay than anyone else on the roster, and it annoys me that the coaching staff doesn't seem to get it.

    Dustin Penner half-trying still performs better than Ethan Moreau trying most of the time.

  • Hippy

    yo wrote:

    . So if that attitude is pervasive how is that not a coaching issue as well as an embedded culture of indifference in the dressing room?

    And Bingo was his name-o

  • Hippy

    Cole is not as effective as he should be either. I wonder if when he was looking good in Carolina in previous seasons he was playing against weaker opposition. Is a better quality of opposition showing up his poor line play? Let's face it he doesn't appear to click with any of his many linemates. The entire team seems to lack chemistry. A good example is a lack of puck support both on the forecheck and backcheck.

    The Penner apologists are many. They all acknowledge his lack of everything and they gloss over that and go on to say, well there are lots of others who play the same way. So if that attitude is pervasive how is that not a coaching issue as well as an embedded culture of indifference in the dressing room?

  • Hippy

    If you're going to hang Penner with the noose of inconsistency and comfort zones, if fair is fair this team would be up for a mass execution.

    Horcoff, Gagner, Cole, Penner, NILSSON, Pouliot, and Steve Staios should all have the same banner put about their heads.

    Horcoff's lack of skill is glaringly obvious this year. He's not a number one center and never will be.

    Gagner is 19 and for the most part his defensive game has improved this year, but it seems at the cost of his offensive decision making.

    Cole was misused and has not even come close to finding his game in the tough north west division.

    Nilsson plays like his dad, only his dad was sheltered on a good team.

    Pouliot walks on egg shells.

    And Steve Staios should be in the AHL or europe. He has neither the size, skating ability, puck skills or shot to be an NHL defenseman. His contract is more disgusting than dustin Penner's or Horcof's.

    If you want to pick on Penner there are a half dozen other guys that should be on the list.

  • Hippy

    Apart from an avalanche of stats you must be a real Penner fan to feel that Rob Tych' column is jaundiced. Penner is a powder-puff big man with little pride in his reputation or performance.

  • Hippy

    Unless im reading a different article, I didnt get the impression he was upset because of getting snuffed. I got the impression getting snuffed was the catalyst for the piece.

    But its not like he wrote an entire column on how much he hates Penner, it was only a few sentences and a quote.

    Its hard to say if Penner is a just a complete jerk off, or if there is history between him and the reporter.

  • Hippy

    Robin B wrote:

    The whole point of a column is to give your opinion. It’s not supposed to be unbiased.
    While you’ve jumped to the Columbus game to point out Penner wasn’t nearly the worst Oiler, Rob’s premise about comfort zones and inconsistency when it comes to Penner is difficult to take issue with.

    You're right of course, I was reading it as a game report (which I've always thought was supposed to be unbiased – am I right about that?) when it is an opinion column.

    Still, Tychkowski really does give the impression that he's more upset about not getting the time of day from Penner more than anything else.

  • Hippy

    when i watch penner play. it's so weak and there is no energy. when he was on the 4th line with brodz and huggy bear, theyhit and he stood still… and got praised form it.. i didn't see our "biggest" guy on the boards doing the work…he's too valueable. psshhhh
    in other games, i see a 6'4 245 lbs guy getting pushed off the puck from a guy gagners size.
    he is useless. he can score goals..i will not deny that, but he's not the one who earns those goals and i personaly don't think we need that on this team.

  • Hippy

    What I don't understand, and likely won't since I'm not in Edmonton, is why Penner gets crapped on by almost everyone, while guys like Gagner are given more and more chances.

    I believe I've seen some articles on ON lately stating that although Penner isn't worth the $4.25 million he's getting, he's still a valuable player. Me, I agree. I'm a fan of the Flying Fridge, and think he's doing just fine given what he's been put through.

    And while I also agree with Bad Seed that showing up out of shape for a new contract isn't the best plan, and definitely puts you a few points down in the goodwill department, that was a year-and-a-half ago, he busted his ass this past summer, and for that, gets kicked off the top line for the Eric Cole Experiment. It further baffled me that people ragged on his offensive production when he was put on the third line. If you are scoring more on the third line than on the first, your entire team is likely screwed up.

    So in short: Penner isn't perfect. He's probably not worth the money. He may not be worth the draft picks (but, it seems that first-round picks mean nothing if your scouting sucks, in the opposite case where lower draft picks are just fine if you have good scouting, see: Red Wings, Detroit). But I don't think he's the biggest problem on this team, nor is he even one of the top five problems (FMNF; Eric Cole, will he stay or will he go?; injuries to Vishnovsky and Grebs (baa); the goaltender situation (still); and all of the ice time sunk into the development of Gagner).

  • Hippy

    I think it’s probably fair to say that Rob Tychowski was venting his personal feelings when he took those shots at Penner, rather than making an unbiased comment on the game against Columbus.

    The whole point of a column is to give your opinion. It's not supposed to be unbiased.
    While you've jumped to the Columbus game to point out Penner wasn't nearly the worst Oiler, Rob's premise about comfort zones and inconsistency when it comes to Penner is difficult to take issue with.

  • Hippy

    I may be a little biased but I'm reserving my judgement on Penner until we see him in playoff action. I know that may be a while from now but if you saw the Ottawa-Anaheim series, you witnessed a dominant Dustin Penner. At 6'4", 240 lbs. he is the Oilers biggest player (sans MacIntyre) which may or may not be the reason for his regular season struggles, but come playoff time his value will skyrocket. If Gagner and Nilson can't do anything with 3 ft. of space, they definitely won't be able to with half that.

  • Hippy

    I am tired of people who are tired of hearing about his salary, quite frankly.

    He DESERVES to be held to a higher standard, because of his salary – the fact that he took the big bills in a small market is HIS problem.

    An entire city made excuses for him LAST year "He was out of shape, but that was understandable because he played so late in the year the year before…." uhhh….right. Fat and useless after signing a ridiculous contract makes perfect sense.

    On the other hand the braintrust should have known what they were getting, a heartless big guy with okay at best hands.

  • Hippy

    Edmonton Sun is a joke, its ran out of calgary first of all. The Oilers nation crew could take over all the local articles in that sports section and it would be twice as good.

  • Hippy

    I bet Penner never thought he'd be the lightning rod for the teams ills when he signed that fat contract. Of course, signing a 22M deal & then showing up out of shape isn't starting on the right foot either.