Never mind the words of Dustin Penner. His stone-faced expression is what lingers.
Asked following the Ducks' practice Monday what he was thinking about Tuesday's reunion with the Dallas Stars and forward Ryan Garbutt, Penner said, "I haven't even thought about it."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Garbutt decked the 6-4, 240-pound Penner during the Ducks' 6-3 victory over Dallas on Oct. 20 at Honda Center.
Although no penalty was called, the NHL suspended Garbutt for five games, ruling he aimed and launched himself at Penner in what the league called "a violent and dangerous hit."
Penner was knocked out briefly, and walked rubber-legged to the dressing room. He missed the next five games and said on Twitter he was blindsided.
Penner has recovered impressively to lead the NHL with a plus-18 goal differential while on the ice, and he scored two goals Saturday in the first-place Ducks' 4-2 victory at Phoenix.
Perhaps living well is the best revenge, or maybe retribution is best served without warning.
Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas took out Ducks winger Teemu Selanne with a penalized hit Nov. 14, and Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa met Gudas on Friday at Honda Center with punches in the face.
"They always remember things," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But that's all on an individual basis. Sometimes you forget, sometimes you remember and sometimes you get in a position to hit them fair."
With veteran Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, 33, out of the lineup because of an upper-body injury, it has created an opportunity for 22-year-old Sami Vatanen.
Vatanen scored a goal in the win at Phoenix, and his job security was enhanced when Sbisa tore a tendon in his right hand while punching Gudas. Sbisa will be out eight to 10 weeks.
"He's a guy that should be playing every day in the NHL," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said of Vatanen, noting he's older than fellow defensemen Hampus Lindholm, 19, and Cam Fowler, 21.
Boudreau also said that Vatanen made the team out of training camp and played in the first 15 games before sitting out three of five and being demoted. "He's good . . . an offensive-minded, skilled defenseman," Boudreau said.
Vatanen, from Finland, said he's focused on "just playing my own game and not worrying too much about what's going on" with roster decisions, leaning on his defensive partner, veteran Bryan Allen, for guidance if necessary.
"I just try to do my own thing . . . my strengths of good skating, support the forwards, play good in the defensive zone, move the puck fast," Vatanen said.
Allen did not practice Monday and did not travel with the team to Dallas after suffering a lower-body injury in Phoenix.
Goalie Viktor Fasth is sidelined for two to three weeks by a lower-body injury suffered in pregame warmups Friday. As a result, Boudreau said he expects Jonas Hiller, after consecutive wins, to "be our guy for a while," with Frederik Andersen getting a start in goal "this weekend." The Ducks play visiting Calgary at 1 p.m. Friday, and visit second-place San Jose on Saturday.
When: 5 PST.
On the air: TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 830.
Etc.: The Stars have played the fewest home games in the league and start a three-game homestand against the Pacific Division-leading Ducks (17-6-3). Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was 8-3-2 in the team's first 13 games, but he has lost twice in the last week even though the Stars out-shot their opponents.Copyright © 2015, CT Now