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Icepocalypse 2012: The Tale of Three Players - Dustin Penner

Francois Beauchemin was unemotional about the status of the lockout. It's former-Duck Dustin Penner's turn to let us know how he feels.

He's not a Duck anymore. This picture was too good to pass up :)
He's not a Duck anymore. This picture was too good to pass up :)
Jeff Gross

We covered Francois Beauchemin's thoughts on the lockout - or lack thereof - earlier today. On to the second player in the three player series. It just so happens to be former-Duck, Dustin Penner.

With the NHL filing the class-action lawsuit against the union on Friday, what does he see happening in the next 30 days? Is he discouraged by the incident?

It hasn't looked encouraging for a while. I try not to get caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of these negotiations, but I think it's part of the process. Other leagues have done that before, decertify. It's all part of the game. Not the actual hockey game, but the negotiations.

With the negotiations making the move to the courtroom, does he believe it will encourage a settlement in the near future?

I hope so. I'm not a born labor negotiator but usually when the government gets involved - the law - they tend to move a bit quicker because now you have someone to answer to, instead of just two parties that aren't regulated by anything.

On staying fit and sharp while not playing real games:

It's definitely a challenge. The last time we locked out, it was my first year, so I went to go play in the minors in Cincinnati. And now it's nice because of the season we had, with the Cup, going deep, having off-season surgery. About a month ago I was ready, if not sooner. Now you're just trying to find things to do.

His perception of how this is playing out with the fans:

It's obviously very tough on the fans. I've been getting a lot of reactions on Twitter. On Twitter, people are upset ... rightfully so.

When I was a fan and there was a lockout in '94, I didn't care why or how or any of those deep minor details, you just want to see hockey. You want to be able to watch it with your dad or your buddies on the weekend. Just sit back and watch a game you love.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that produces the game that everybody loves, need to go through those negotiations and try to find something that is suitable and profitable for both the league and the fans.

On the impact of damage done to fans once they hit the ice again:

It's a long process. It doesn't go back right away. Now it's, especially the second time in seven years, and now lockouts in the NBA, NFL, people are just getting tired of it. We don't know how much damage is going to be done, but like anything else in life, you have to take it one step at a time and just try to build back that trust and that relationship with the fans.

Aside from the off-season surgery, why he hasn't gone overseas to play:

I have my own reasons. I have no problem with people going over and playing there. For me, to sum it up the best, "The juice isn't worth the squeeze". You know what I mean?

Depending on what league your in, they don't have to pay you, they say they will. There are a lot things that happen become frustrating like trying to get your money, you know, [could be] delivered in a duffel bag.

Or play in a league where you get injured. One of my friends, Alec Martinez, got hit in the face with a slapshot. Six broken bones, three plates. If you have a family, you have to move everybody out there. Insurance issues.

And then, one of the other reasons for me, I just, there is a lot of guys out there who are from that area, that get bumped down, is another reason I don't want to go.

Jen's Take

First, as much as it pains me to say this, he looked to be in really good shape. He was wearing a fitted sweater that would have made a gut visible. His face looked thinner, too.

Second, the normally laid back Penner became much more serious when it came to questions of the lockout. He addressed each reporters' question on the lockout (mine was the last one) without breaking eye contact. His body language changed; he went from hands in pockets to arms crossed. Whether he intended to or not, it was refreshing to hear a player not go after the owners right off the bat.

Having watched Penner grow up, so to speak, I could tell was sincere in what he was saying and wasn't just word vomiting a quote for the press.