SUN Hockey Pool

Penner hoping bygones are gone

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Dustin Penner was not sure what to expect the last time he returned to Anaheim.

The Edmonton Oilers forward didn't know the type of reception he would get, whether there would be a Stanley Cup ring waiting for him, or if Ducks general manager Brian Burke would even speak to him.

"I think it will be a little easier this time around," Penner said. "There won't be as much bickering back and forth. It'll be good, it will be nice to get back down there and see what it's like."

Penner, 25, was a pawn in a tug-of-war between Burke and Oilers GM Kevin Lowe this off-season. The Winkler, Man., native signed a five-year, $21.25-million offer sheet with the Oilers this summer. The Ducks had the option of matching or taking three draft picks as compensation for the restricted free agent.

Burke decided to take the draft picks, but not after firing a number of verbal volleys at Lowe.

"The toughest part was the uncertainty of everything," Penner said.

"What was it going to be like for me personally, what it was going to be like playing in that rink as a visitor, how fans would react and whether I'd get booed."

Things turned out well. While Penner did not register a point, the Oilers did go on to win the game in a shootout and he was awarded his Stanley Cup ring.

"It was a good experience," he said. "Everything worked out well."

Tonight's meeting between the two teams is the third of four this season.

Unless the two sides meet in the playoffs, it'll be the last time the Oilers are in Anaheim to face the Ducks.

"We're going to have to play even better than we did (Friday)," Penner said.


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