Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 09/25/13 at 03:17 AM ET
TSN's Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun discussed David Clarkson's suspension, Paul Bissonnette's appealing of his suspension, the probability of the NHL and NHLPA adopting hybrid icing and even expansion to Seattle in an "Insider Trading" segment, but pre-season hockey games aren't exactly covered with the intense scrutiny of regular-season games, so the most intriguing part of their segment involves, well, assessing which players have played well and which ones have played poorly during the part of the season that theoretically doesn't count:
Who are some players that are and aren't making an impression in the NHL pre-season?
Bob McKenzie - Dustin Penner is under the gun with the Anaheim Ducks. It would be fair to say they are a little underwhelmed with what he has done so far. They have given him every opportunity to be the left winger on the line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry but he has not taken advantage. In the pre-season game on Tuesday between the Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings, Penner is getting another chance with the big line but the chances might be running out for him if he doesn't step up his game.
Bob McKenzie - Tyler Toffoli, who scored some great goals in the playoffs last year and Linden Vey, who was really good with Manchester, they have played well enough to be on the Kings, but they can be sent to the minors without waivers and right now, there is a body crunch and cap crunch with the Kings. They are trying to move either Keaton Ellerby or Jeff Schultz. They have nine NHL defencemen because of a healthy Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene, so some of those deserving players might get sent down.
Bob McKenzie - Jake Allen has been the best goaltender bar none, better than Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott for the St. Louis Blues but he's quite likely going to get demoted because he can be sent down. Halak and Elliott looks like the one-two punch to start the season for the Blues.
Pierre LeBrun - Valeri Nichushkin is a dark horse for the Calder Trophy and he has absolutely dazzled in Dallas with two goals on nine shots in his first pre-season game for the Stars. Sergei Gonchar is from the same hometown in Russia and has been a great influence. He was rated top three by the Stars on their draft list and a lot of people were scared to draft him because of the possibility of playing in the KHL, but they were lucky to get him at number 10.
Darren Dreger - Tim Thomas could play for the Florida Panthers as early as Thursday. He's been really good in training camp.
Pierre LeBrun - Jose Theodore has an offer to play in the KHL. He isn't sure he's going to take it at this point but there is interest.
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