Things did not go well for Dustin Penner as a member of the Edmonton Oilers last season—and there's an understatement if I’ve ever seen one.
After the big forward signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract following the 2006-2007 season with the Anaheim Ducks, many were shocked that Edmonton would pay so much for a player who had barely proven himself as a legitimate scorer in the league.
Not only did he have to hear about the contract for the next two years, but his coach at the time, Craig MacTavish didn't seem to connect very well with him; okay, so his coach hated his guts.
Penner was repeatedly ridiculed publicly by his coach; from his skill level, to his passion for the game, to his conditioning.
Basically Mac-T called him a fat crybaby, to translate loosely.
Penner heard it all from the disgruntled coach, and felt his wrath too by sitting out many games and seeing his ice time plummet throughout the season.
He ended up with 17 goals and 37 points last season, which only added more stress to his life. But his rival coach was fired, and in came Pat Quinn to give him a second chance.
Well, not only has he taken that second chance, but Penner is running with it—already tallying 13 goals and 25 points through the first 23 games. Well on his way to his best statistical season, and quieting his many critics, Penner's outburst shouldn't be a surprise because of the potential he showed in Anaheim. But after all that he's been through so far in Edmonton, it's shocking this guy hasn't quit by now.
With his nemesis fired and the town back on his side, Penner looks to lead the Oilers on a spirited playoff run.
Somewhere Craig MacTavish is muttering fat jokes under his breath.