|Penner (photo: Ron Marcotte) |
As the B’s gear up for their first game this season without captain Zdeno Chara
, Providence transplant Jeff Penner is preparing for his first NHL game ever.
The 22-year-old defenseman received the news of his recall yesterday, and met his Boston Bruins teammates in Toronto, in the midst of their seven-game roadtrip.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “You always dream of it as a little kid playing hockey. Growing up in Canada, that’s everybody’s dream.
“To play in the NHL and finally get the call, it’s exciting. That’s the only word to describe it.”
With a smile, Penner added, “Especially coming to Toronto and playing in the Air Canada Centre, you can’t get much better than that for your first game. So I’m excited.”
So far this season, the Manitoba native has skated in 55 games for Providence, registering 6-21-27 totals.
According the Bruins head coach Claude Julien, Chara, who was absent from morning skate, has an undisclosed lower-body injury.
“He suffered a lower-body injury there last game that’s going to keep him out for tonight,” Julien said. “So he’s going to be day-to-day. Hopefully we get him back for next game.”
When asked how he plans to try and fill 6’9” hole in the B’s lineup, Penner emphasized that he and the other defenseman will have to keep it simple.
“I definitely can’t replace a guy like that,” Penner said. “I’m just going to try to play my game. My game’s a skating game and moving the puck well and just try to make the simple plays out there.”
Julien reiterated that sentiment, saying he had confidence in Penner and his ability to stem the tide of injuries.
“Just keep it simple,” Julien said. “Those kind of guys come in and play their first games and it’s important for them to just be relaxed and comfortable and keep it simple.”
With all the excitement surrounding his debut tonight, Penner said he’s only found one downside to life as an NHL player—constant phone calls.
“I may have to turn it off this afternoon so I can focus, but it’s nice to see there’s a lot of people supporting me,” he said.