NHLPA Player opinion poll on franchises, coaches, rule changes and peers

Less than half of current NHL players recently participated in a voluntary poll presented by the National Hockey League Player’s Association and the CBC television network in Canada.  Of the 318 players who did return surveys, 11% identified the Chicago Blackhawks as the team they’d most-like to play for.  And 7% choose the United Center as their favorite arena to play in.

Duncan Keith, the reigning Norris Trophy award winner, finished 5th in the category of toughest defenseman to play against.  Keith received three percent of the votes in that query.  Patrick Sharp ranked 3rd in the most-underrated player category, tied with New Jersey center Travis Zajac with each receiving 3.5% of votes.  That’s something of an arbitrary category.  Frans Nielsen, who got the 2nd most votes for most-underrated, is a sneaky-skilled player but he’s not in the league of Sharp or Dallas Stars winger Loui Eriksson, who led the voting by a slim margin over Nielsen (5 goals, 16 assists, 43gp).

In Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks have the league’s 5th most desired coach, according to players polled.  Quenneville received 6% of votes tallied, behind Guy Boucher (8%), Dave Tippett (8%), Mike Babcock (18%) and Dan Bylsma (21%).  Bylsma was obviously aided by how well he came off in the HBO 24/7 series.

Here’s the entire list of questions and top vote getters:

What team would you least like to play on?

New York Islanders – 27%
Edmonton Oilers – 20%
Buffalo Sabres – 8%
Atlanta Thrashers – 7%
Toronto Maple Leafs – 5%
Montreal Canadiens – 5%

What team would you most like to play on?

Detroit Red Wings – 14%
Vancouver Canucks – 11%
Chicago Blackhawks – 11%
New York Rangers – 9%
Tampa Bay Lightning – 6%

What rink has worst ice?

Bank Atlantic Centre (Florida Panthers) – 20%
Madison Square Garden (Rangers) – 14%
St.Pete Times Forum (Lightning) – 12%
Honda Center (Anaheim Ducks) – 10%
Staples Center (Los Angeles Kings) – 9%

What rink has best ice?

Rexall Place (Edmonton) – 37%
Bell Centre (Montreal) – 15%
Joe Louis Arena (Detroit) – 13%
Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota) – 8%
Rogers Arena (Vancouver) – 7%

What is your favorite rink to play in?

Bell Centre (Montreal) – 40%
Madison Square Garden – 9%
United Center (Chicago) – 7.4%
Joe Louis Arena (Detroit) – 7%
Rogers Arena (Vancouver) – 6%

COACHES

Which current assistant coach should be the next head coach?

Kirk Muller (Montreal) – 9%
Bob Boughner (Columbus) – 8%
Tony Granato (Pittsburgh) – 6%
Adam Oates (New Jersey) – 5%
Brad McCrimmon (Detroit) – 4%

Which coach demands the most of his players?

John Tortorella (NY Rangers) – 28%
Mike Babcock (Detroit) – 24%
Guy Boucher (Tampa Bay) – 7%
Brent Sutter (Calgary) – 6%
Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) – 4%

Which coach is the easiest to play for?

Bruce Boudreau (Washington) – 21%
Barry Trotz (Nashville) – 12%
Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) – 8%
Dave Tippett (Phoenix) – 8%
Terry Murray (Los Angeles) – 5%

Which coach would you most like to play for?

Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) – 21%
Mike Babcock (Detroit) – 18%
Dave Tippett (Phoenix) – 9%
Guy Boucher (Tampa Bay) – 8%
Joel Quenneville (Chicago) – 6%

Which coach would you least like to play for?

Ron Wilson (Toronto) – 24%
John Tortorella (NY Rangers) – 15%
Marc Crawford (Dallas) – 14%
Brent Sutter (Calgary) – 10%
Mike Keenan (UFA) – 9%

ON-ICE TOPICS

Should the Instigator rule be abolished?

No – 66%
Yes – 33%
Depends – 0.3%
Don’t care – 0.3%

Should fighting be banished from the NHL?
No – 98%
Yes – 2%

Which Canadian city deserves an NHL franchise (Hamilton, Quebec City, Toronto or Winnipeg)?
Quebec City – 53%
Winnipeg – 25%
Toronto – 16%
Hamilton – 5%

PLAYER OPINIONS

Which rink has the worst boards/glass?

Joe Louis Arena – 12%
Bell Centre – 11%
Pengrowth Saddledome – 9%
Madison Square Garden – 8%
Nassau Coliseum – 8%

Who has the toughest forward to play against?

Sidney Crosby – 29%
Pavel Datsyuk – 19%
Alex Ovechkin – 11%
Ryan Kesler – 4%
Henrik Zetterberg – 3%

Who is the best referee?

None – 15%  (Apparently 15% of those polled have the comprehension skills of your average internet keyboard warrior)
Kelly Sutherland – 13%
Bill McCreary – 10%
Wes McCauley – 9%
Tim Peel – 7%
Paul Devorski – 7%

Which team is underrated?

Nashville Predators – 18%
Dallas Stars – 16%
Phoenix Coyotes – 9%
Atlanta Thrashers – 8%
St. Louis Blues – 6%

Which team in overrated?

Washington Capitals – 35%
Vancouver Canucks – 12%
Montreal Canadiens – 11%
San Jose Sharks – 10%
Pittsburgh Penguins – 4%
Philadelphia Flyers – 4%

Who is the toughest defenseman to play against?

Zdeno Chara – 20.3%
Nicklas Lidstrom – 20.3%
Chris Pronger – 20.0%
Shea Weber – 7%
Duncan Keith – 3%

Which active player would you select to start a franchise?

Sidney Crosby – 69%
Nicklas Lidstrom – 6%
Steven Stamkos – 5%
Jonathan Toews – 3%
Alex Ovechkin – 2%
Pavel Datsyuk – 2%

Who is the cleanest player?

Pavel Datysuk – 28%
Martin St. Louis – 10%
Nicklas Lidstrom – 8%
Henrik Zetterberg – 6%
Kyle Wellwood – 4%

Who is the most-underrated player?

Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars) – 5.4%
Frans Nielson (NY Islanders) – 5.0%
Patrick Sharp (Blackhawks) – 3.5%
Travis Zajac (New Jersey) – 3.5%
Tomas Plekanec (Montreal) – 3.1%

Which active player is the best role model?

Sidney Crosby – 26%
Nicklas Lidstrom – 20%
Jarome Iginla – 11%
Shane Doan – 9%
Martin St. Louis – 3%

SKILLS

Skaters only: Which goalie is the most difficult to score on?

Roberto Luongo – 17%
Ryan Miller – 16%
Tim Thomas – 15%
Henrik Lundqvist – 14.8%
Mikka Kiprusoff – 4%

* This isn’t a surprise.  And before Blackhawks fans reach into their snark basket, ask yourselves why the Blackhawks felt the need in back to back playoff seasons to go to the extent of bumping and getting so much traffic to Luongo and his crease?  He’s one of the best at the very thing this question asks.  How he handles the other stuff, right or wrong, is ultimately what will define his career.

For goalies only: Which player is the most difficult to stop?

Alex Ovechkin – 27%
Sidney Crosby – 24%
Steven Stamkos – 14%
Pavel Datsyuk – 5%
Alexander Semin – 5%
Brad Richards – 5%

Who is the toughest to play against?

Sidney Crosby – 18%
Zdeno Chara – 17%
Pavel Datsyuk – 16%
Alex Ovechkin – 8%
Chris Pronger – 7%

Who is the hardest to take the puck off of?

Pavel Datsyuk – 36%
Sidney Crosby – 24%
Joe Thornton – 8%
Rick Nash – 3%
Henrik Zetterberg – 3%

Who is the smartest player?

Sidney Crosby – 29%
Pavel Datsyuk – 24%
Nicklas Lidstrom – 19%
Henrik Sedin – 6%
Martin St. Louis – 4%

Who is the toughest player?

Derek Boogaard – 23%
Colton Orr – 9%
Matt Carkner – 6%
Zdeno Chara – 5%
Milan Lucic – 4%

Who is the best skater?

Marian Gaborik – 26%
Sidney Crosby – 17%
Patrick Marleau – 9%
Duncan Keith – 4%
5 players tied at – 2%

Who is the league’s fastest skater?

Marian Gaborik (NY Rangers) – 37%
Patrick Marleau (San Jose) – 11%
Darren Helm (Detroit) – 8%
Jason Chimera (Washington) – 6%
Michael Grabner (NY Islanders) – 5%

Who has the hardest shot?

Zdeno Chara – 44%
Shea Weber – 41%
Milan Jurcina – 3%
Ales Kotalik – 2.5%
Steven Stamkos – 2%
Dustin Byfuglien – 2%

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3 Responses to NHLPA Player opinion poll on franchises, coaches, rule changes and peers

  1. Thanks for posting this. i might have to look at Nielsen in my fantasy Leahue – i’m ppretty sure he’s available

  2. “Who is the cleanest player?

    Pavel Datysuk – 28%
    Martin St. Louis – 10%
    Nicklas Lidstrom – 8%
    Henrik Zetterberg – 6%
    Kyle Wellwood – 4%”

    apparently that 6% for ZetterLeto came from residents of the Eastern Conference who haven’t had the pleasure of getting slashed behind the play.

  3. And apparently 4% of players misheard “Who is the cleanest player?” they clearly thought they heard “who is the player who leaves the cleanest plate?”

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