February 06, 2009
The annual ESPN NHL players' survey is out, which asks 10 general questions of 193 active players. Some of these questions fail in their conception (does anyone really care which goalie would make a good forward, and not vice versa?) or by delivering sadly predictable results. (Who knew NHL players would rather visit Vegas than Kansas City, or that they really dig having a few weeks off for the Winter Olympics, right?)
That said, there's always some gold to be mined from this sort of thing. For example:
"Which player complains the most on the ice?"
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won with an overwhelming 52 percent, with Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks second with eight percent. Frank D. from PensBurgh says this is actually spot-on, as Crosby whines after every penalty. One interesting name in the honorable mentions: Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers. Were the referees allowed to take this survey? Speaking of which ...
"Who is the best referee in the NHL?"
This one is always interesting, because the perception of fans is always different from that of players. To wit: Kerry Fraser won with 18 percent of the vote, with Don Koharski and Kelly Sutherland both getting nine percent. Brad Watson received one percent of the vote, because his name is so chant-able when paired with the word "sucks." Much like Bill McCreary's.
"If you could change lives with another player, who would it be?"
By far the most fascinating question on the survey, because of how the players approached it. Some clearly answered based on raw talent or achievement on the ice -- hence Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic and Nicklas Lidstrom making the top five. Others clearly opted for, uh, intangibles. Which is why
Hilary Duff, Willa Ford and Carrie Underwood Mike Comrie, Mike Modano and Mike Fisher all received votes in the survey, we assume.