The CBC and NHL Players Association polled players from all 30 NHL teams on a variety of different subjects from fighting to the league’s best players to the quality of cities and arenas.
Before we discuss the players who made the best showings, here are some of the more interesting “big picture” findings.
- About 98 percent of the voters said that fighting should remain in the sport. Meanwhile 66 percent of respondents said that the league should keep the instigator penalty, which is a bit of an upset.
- Montreal and Edmonton’s ice surfaces were named as the two best in the NHL. Unfortunately players also named the Habs’ boards among the league’s worst while Edmonton is considered one of the least desirable franchises to play for.
- Along the “good news/bad news” lines, Detroit was named among the top teams to play for but also joined Montreal in the worst rinks as far as boards/glass are concerned.
Anyway, getting more specific, players tabbed Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk for many of the “best skater” categories. The polls also show that Steven Stamkos has a ways to go before he earns top player recognition.
Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings was named in the most categories, 10, with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins being mentioned in nine. But Crosby received more than 50 votes in seven of those categories, while in five of the categories Datsyuk is mentioned the Russian received fewer than 10 votes.
Crosby finished atop the voting in five categories — the smartest, the toughest forward to play against, the toughest player overall to face, the best role model, and top player to start a franchise with. Datsyuk got the nod as the cleanest player and the toughest to take the puck from.
Venerable Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom placed in nine categories, while Alexander Ovechkin received votes in eight, including the pick of goaltenders as the toughest skater to face.
Steve Stamkos of Tampa Bay Lightning is an emerging star, but perhaps still under the radar a bit. Stamkos got votes in seven categories but never received more than 15 votes in any of them (He got 15 for a distant second place to Crosby in “player to start a franchise with” polling).
Again, click here to find out who won the individual categories. There are some interesting answers, for sure.