Dustin Penner, with full playoff beard, warms up before Game 1 of the Stanley… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Forget the imagery of a kid with his face pressed against the glass, watching his friends play hockey games.
Kings left wing Dustin Penner got his point across Wednesday with sharp humor, skillfully describing the current situation. "I'm waiting like a dog in a car, waiting to be let out," said Penner, who has been a healthy scratch for three straight games.
Let's hope the windows are rolled down. "Just half an inch so I can't get my snout out," he said.
This is just one way of saying he is all right. Really.
"It's fine," Penner said. "It's not something I'm seeking counseling about…. I'm in a good place professionally, mentally and emotionally. It's a lot easier to take this now than it was last year."
The first game he missed was Thursday in Edmonton, and Penner noted the "guillotine has to fall somewhere." Penner said his relationship with Kings Coach Darryl Sutter remains fine.
"It's not like we're avoiding each other in the halls," Penner said. "It's a professionally run organization."
Additional light was shed on defenseman Willie Mitchell's knee injury. His agent Mike Luit of Octagon made the distinction of Mitchell having been cleared to practice but not to play.
"…In an effort to return as soon as possible, he over-committed to his rehab and the knee did not respond in kind," Luit said, via email. "As is the case sometimes, this causes swelling and other irritation to the joint. The result is the rehab is pushed back and the athlete has to accept that he must allow the injured area to calm down and start back at a slower pace. Of course, given the circumstances of this season, this frustrates everyone; Willie more than anyone else."
Mitchell had an extended session on the ice Saturday and has been off it for the last four days. He continues to work out off the ice. "Hopefully he can jump back in and practice again. But there's been zero setback," Sutter said.
•Kings left wing Simon Gagne is sleeping easier these days. That makes sense after a growth of what he called the size of a tennis ball was removed from his neck in July.
"At least now it's out and now it's back to normal," Gagne said. "Right after the surgery — just not having that thing in my neck — the first thing I noticed, the way I was sleeping. I was waking up in the morning feeling a lot better, more rested."
•Sutter spoke about the flow chart of his roster. "At every position, there are some guys that are moving up," he said. "Some guys that are moving down. That's the way it works…. As I just said, I think we've got two guys at every position that are playing well. And we need five guys at every position."
•Nashville left wing Rich Clune, who played 14 games for the Kings in the 2009-10 season, has 19 penalty minutes for the Predators in five games. Nashville claimed Clune on waivers from the Kings on Jan. 15. Clune had been playing for the Kings' minor-league affiliate at Manchester, N.H.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 1150.
Record vs. Nashville (2011-12): 3-1-0.
Etc. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, the league's leader in wins last season with 43, is winless in five starts.
Helene Elliott contributed to this report.