Oilers want Penner tougher

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:08 PM ET

DEREK VAN DIEST, Edmonton SunDustin Penner is big, strong, and if the Edmonton Oilers had their way, he’d be more physical.

Playing on a line with the much smaller Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano, the Oilers are tying to get their six-foot-four, 249-pound winger to throw the odd hit or two.

Lately, it’s been Brule and Cogliano who do all the banging.

“He’s such as strong guy, you can see how he exhibits that when he has the puck and he controls and maintains possession and makes things happen,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “Under those circumstances he’s fine.

“But you’d like to make sure that he goes to the net hard, he’s physical getting there and he’s on top of bodies when he gets the opportunities as a forechecker. Even in things like scrums or little tussles, you’d like to see him sliding his way in between our guy and their guy and just have a presence that way.”

Despite his size, Penner, 28, has never been an intimidating factor physically with the Oilers. However, on a team short on size and toughness through their top three lines, it’s an element the team would like to see him add to his game.

“You’d like to get him a little more belligerent,” said Renney. “Whether that’s in his DNA, only time will tell. We’ll do everything we can to get it out of him and out of others. It’s not just only him.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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