BostonBruins.com -- For Providence Bruins defenseman Jeff Penner, getting to the NHL – and remaining in the NHL – is all about consistency.
“Guys up there don‟t have too many off nights. If you‟re one of the better players and you‟re consistent, you‟ll get a shot,” Penner said.
Penner, now in his third full season with the P-Bruins, has already had a taste of the NHL, appearing in two games last season for Boston. He made his NHL debut on March 9, 2010 in a 4-3 OT loss at Toronto, and then logged 18:45 of ice time in a 4-3 SO win at Washington on April 11.
“It‟s a childhood dream to play in the NHL,” Penner said. “Getting the opportunity to do that was quite an honor. It was great to be alongside guys that have played the game for so long at that level.”
The 23-year-old has 5-13=18 totals in 53 games in Providence this season, and he feels he has been steadily improving over the course of the season.
“I got off to a rough start. Started off real slow, offensive numbers-wise,” Penner said. “I thought I was playing alright defensively but my game‟s come around quite a bit as of late. The offensive stuff has been coming, along with some confidence.”
Penner played Junior „A‟ hockey for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Then he took his game to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he gained notoriety.
“I think I improved a lot over the year in Alaska,” he said. “It gave me an opportunity to play a lot out there and play at a high level. Playing in the [CCHA], it was definitely a big step up. It helped me develop a lot.”
After one season in Alaska, where he posted 5-7=12 totals with 49 PIM in 35 games, Penner signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins on March 29, 2008.
“I went into college not expecting to come out of college that early,” Penner said. “I was hoping to maybe play a few years and maybe get a look from a couple teams, but I definitely didn‟t expect to leave college after my first year.”
Penner hopes to be the next Providence defenseman to get the call to Boston, where he could join former teammates Johnny Boychuk
, Adam McQuaid
, and Steven Kampfer.
“Guys like that who are good-character guys and they know they have ability, they‟re consistent, it‟s great to see,” Penner said. “Of course, you want to be that guy, but it‟s nice to see those guys succeed.”