Sure, it’s only the pre-season, but there were still a few noteworthy performances worth mentioning.
Not all of them are positive mind you, but then again, nothing in this world is perfect.
So, as the pre-season comes to an end and the roster position battle-smoke clears, we look back at a few of the performances that caught our eye and surely caught the eye of each respective team’s management.
In this week’s edition of THN.com’s Top 10, we count down some of these acts whether they were for the good, or bad, of the individual or his clan.
10. Ryan Hollweg, Toronto
Hollweg led the NHL in PIMs (63 in six games), despite the fact he already had a spot on the team sewn up. His play was so violently erratic even his own coach, Ron Wilson, said he needed to “tone it down.” To top it all off, Hollweg was automatically suspended for the first two games of the regular season after receiving his third major penalty for boarding or checking-from-behind in his past 41 games.
9. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks went undefeated (6-0-1), scoring 26 goals and allowing just 17. If only the pre-season counted towards the regular season.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
The bad news continues for the Leafs, who gave up a league-high 39 goals. Granted, Toronto played nine games, which was more than 27 other teams, but so did Montreal and Detroit, who surrendered 22 and 17 goals.
7. New York Rangers and Dallas Stars
Two teams with supposedly legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations played horribly. In six games the Blueshirts managed just two points and 12 goals. The Stars weren’t much better, posting three points in seven games.
6. The kids can play
There will be an inordinate number of 2008 first round draft picks on opening day rosters. Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn, Mikkel Boedker, Josh Bailey, Viktor Tikhonov and, likely, Luca Sbisa were all drafted in the first round this past June and will be on the ice later this week.
5. Fighting for nothing
It’s one thing when fringe players looking to make a name for themselves square off to prove their toughness. But when players already assured of a roster spot do it, it’s just plain dumb. Wonder how Raffi Torres (shoulder, six weeks), Scott Walker (torn hand ligament, six weeks) and Steve Downie (MCL sprain, questionable to start season) are feeling now? All will start the season on the sidelines.
4. Patrick Sharp, Chicago
The Sharpshooter (couldn’t help it) fired six shots past goalies in just six games to tie with Corey Perry (seven games) for the league lead.
3. Teemu Selanne, Anaheim
The ageless one started on a tryout contract, signed a two-year deal in late September and then promptly netted five goals (including three on the power play) in just three games.
2. Michael Leighton, Carolina
The Hurricanes backup goalie led the league in goals-against average (0.98) and save percentage (.964) and tied for the lead in shutouts with one.
1. Andy McDonald, Lee Stempniak and Brad Boyes, St. Louis
The dynamic trio finished 1-2-T4 in scoring and combined for 14 goals and 35 points in just five games. At least there was something to cheer about in St. Louis this season.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on thehockeyenews.com.
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