I love this interview with Dustin Penner. And I stick by my 40 goals prediction.
[...] PENNER: "[...] I think a lot of guys who come from other teams, we share that feeling that we weren’t used to this type of intensity. But it’s definitely (a good thing). I think you can attribute some of their start last season [12-3 in the first 15 games] to the training they did in the offseason. With the team we’ve got this year, and everybody on the same page as far as that goes, we will be tough to stop."
That's what you call a buy-in.
Question: And this is also the final year of your contract as well…
PENNER: "I have heard that. [smiles]"
Question: Have you thought about who you might have as your linemates this year?
PENNER: [...] "It doesn’t matter. We’re going to be a threat, through all four lines."
Question: When you hear the criticism of you, does it bother you?
PENNER: "No. Less and less. The one thing I can say, and I don’t know if you watch `The Simpsons,’ the episode with Darryl Strawberry, when they start (chanting) `Darryl, Darryl,’ and there’s a tear in his eye. I used to laugh at that, and now I don’t. [laughs]"
Best possible answer to this question and I would like to suggest all subsequent questions asked by anyone ever to be answered via Simpsons references. Seinfeld, Beatles or Python will work just as well.
Question: People didn’t really chant your name though, right?
PENNER: "No. They picked different names, instead of my name. [smiles]"
Question: A late-season trade like that can be disruptive. Have you had time now to kind of calm things down, in terms of your personal life as well?
Question: Any particular goals for the season?
PENNER: "Well, winning is one of them. I want to set personal bests in my statistical categories and then just improve as a player, become more of a leader and things like that. What the great players do is, they’re always looking to improve facets of their game. I think, with these workouts, I’m on the right track."
Question: Is that the biggest change, in terms of coming from Edmonton and the change in culture?
PENNER: "Well, like I said, these workouts are different than I had encountered before. It’s really exciting to be part of something this special with a guy like [strength and conditioning coach] Tim Adams. As far as the culture, Edmonton was really young. Here, [we] have some older guys, but I think we’re all around 27, 28 [...] as the average age. I think we’ve got the perfect mix of players to do some damage."
Question: When you heard about Dean Lombardi’s softball comments, what did you think?
PENNER: "I’m a good softball player. [smiles] … What he’s saying, I think, is that if you’re in the position I’m in… I know what he’s saying and I know what he wants out of me. It’s more kindle for the fire."