SUN Hockey Pool

Checking into Hotel Bow-Wow

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

The Doghouse Line skated together after practice yesterday: Dustin Penner at left wing, Kyle Brodziak at centre and Marc Pouliot on the right side.

Then they stuck around for detention with the coach.

Who knows if Craig MacTavish will play them together tonight against Chicago? But his message to the lukewarm forwards was clear: start playing like it matters.

Then, since talk is cheap - at this point, anyway - he instructed them not to speak to the media.

"I think the message to the players is that the time for dialogue is over," said MacTavish.

"They can let their game do the talking. They can answer the questions after the game. It's time to see it on the ice in a more committed, consistent level."

Penner remains the biggest lightning rod, given his contract and easygoing personality that follows him onto the ice.

"At times it's an issue with him that he lacks some focus," said MacTavish, who isn't seeing enough determination from Penner to get out of his slump, or contribute in some other way.

"If you're recognizing (that you're in a drought) and it's exhibited and reflected in the way you conduct yourself, you have an ally in the coaching staff.

"I've always conducted myself that way -- I'll work with the player as long as he'll work to help himself. If that's not the case then it's going to be uncomfortable."

Bust your hump and you'll get some leash, float and you'll get the whip.

"I don't have unrealistic expectations for them to go out there and be contributors offensively every night,"MacTavish said of the trio.

"But you have to find a way to help the overall product. Not just offensively, but just intensity. You can always display intensity and physical play."


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