Dustin Penner to have knee re-examined
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Dustin Penner, who instigated a fight with Flyers rookie forward Zac Rinaldo after his first-period collision with Doughty on Saturday night in Philadelphia, left the ice midway through practice Monday at Toyota Sports Center because of a knee injury suffered during the skirmish.
Despite being "reassured" by a doctor in Philadelphia and the Kings training staff that the injury was just a bruise, coach Terry Murray said Penner decided to have the injury further examined by the team physician.
"He wanted to get it checked out by the doctor and see if there's anything further on that," Murray said. "The plan was full practice (Monday) and there was nothing before the practice that was going to lead me to think that it was going to be anything different than that, so obviously it's bothering him."
Penner returned to the game against Philadelphia after serving 17 minutes' worth of penalties as a result of the fight, but he only combined for one shift in the third period and overtime when the Kings eventually won 3-2 on a goal by Jack Johnson.
Murray said he didn't consider the hit on Doughty to be illegal, but he also didn't have an issue with Penner going after Rinaldo, even though Penner is a much more skilled player than the 21-year-old center, who had more suspensions in the American Hockey League last season (four) than goals (three).
"Players sticking up for a teammate is a good thing," Murray said.
While Penner's status for Tuesday night's home opener against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center remains uncertain, Murray did confirm that rookie defenseman Slava Voynov would make his NHL debut as a replacement for Doughty and will likely play "big minutes." Voynov will be paired with veteran Willie Mitchell.
"I just want him to play," Murray said. "He's not a kid; this is a man. He's played in the elite level over in Russia before he even joined the team's organization, and he has played some very good hockey since he has been over in North America. ... There's no problem with him handling the high expectations. I think he's a very confident young man."
After Doughty agreed to an eight-year, $56-million contract two weeks into training camp, Voynov became a casualty of the team's depth on defense and was the final cut coming out of training camp. It was a difficult decision for management because Voynov had played so well during the preseason and demonstrated all the qualities of an NHL player. During a meeting with Voynov, he was assured it was only a matter of time before he would be a full-time player with the Kings.
"It's here a little bit sooner than what we anticipated," Murray said of Voynov's debut. "He's not called up to fill in for an injured player, in my mind. This is a time for him to show us what he can do."
Dan Arritt covers the NHL for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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