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.
(You can peruse all of the results here.)
Before we discuss the players who made the best showings, here are some of the more interesting “big picture” findings.
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.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.
It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.