Experts vote on league's best

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

From water coolers to pub tables to hockey stands, debates rage - arguments over hockey's great questions. Wagers are often made.

Wait no more hockey fans. Hockey writers from across the Sun Media chain have polled more than 50 players, scouts, coaches, executives and media members on 25 of the most critical questions and compiled the results.

Our annual survey may not solve every bet, but it's a pretty definitive way of determining what the hockey experts have to say on the topic.

Here goes:

FASTEST SKATER

1. Marian Gaborik, Minnesota ... 12

2. Jason Chimera, Columbus ... 6

3. Matthew Lombardi, Calgary ... 4

3. Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton ... 4

3. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Patrick Marleau, Marian Hossa, Simon Gagne, Jay Bouwmeester, Mason Raymond, Ilya Kovalchuk, Shean Donovan, Dean McAmmond, Scott Gomez, Maxim Afinogenov, Patrick Sharp, Jason Blake, Teemu Selanne

SLOWEST SKATER

1. Derek Boogaard, Minnesota ... 12

2. Derian Hatcher, Philadelphia ... 4

2. Donald Brashear, Washington ... 4

4. Hal Gill, Pittsburgh ... 3

4. Darren McCarty, Detroit ... 3

4. Steve MacIntyre, Edmonton ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Georges Laraque, Wade Redden, Eric Godard, Mitch Fritz, Zack Stortini, Willie Mitchell, Eric Boulton, Marek Malik, Aaron Downey, Bobby Holik, Mike Commodore, Nik Antropov, Douglas Murray

BEST SLAPSHOT

1. Sheldon Souray, Edmonton ... 20

2. Dion Phaneuf, Calgary ... 5

2. Zdeno Chara, Boston ... 5

4. Shea Weber, Nashville ... 4

5. Lubomir Visnovsky, Edmonton ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Chris Pronger, Niklas Lidstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Mike Green, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Andre Roy, Adrian Aucoin

BEST WRIST SHOT

1. Joe Sakic, Colorado ... 19

2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington ... 14

3. Marian Hossa, Detroit ... 5

4. Jarome Iginla, Calgary ... 4

5. Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Jeff Carter, Alexei Kovalev, Alexander Semin, Dany Heatley, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Kesler, Miroslav Satan

MOST OVERRATED PLAYER

1. Sean Avery, in limbo ... 9

2. Dion Phaneuf, Calgary ... 8

3. Wade Redden, New York Rangers ... 4

4. Jeff Finger, Toronto ... 3

4. Dustin Penner, Edmonton ... 3

4. Jason Spezza, Ottawa ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Joe Thornton, Mats Sundin, Marian Gaborik, Marty Turco, Brian Campbell, Bryan McCabe, Luke Schenn, Saku Koivu, Alexei Kovalev, Martin St. Louis, Olli Jokinen, Marc Savard, Ron Hainsey, Brad Richards, Chris Pronger, Matt Stajan, Jay Bouwmeester, Bobby Holik, Mike Commodore

MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER

1. Marc Savard, Boston ... 6

2. Mikko Koivu, Minnesota ... 5

3. Tim Thomas, Boston ... 4

4. Patrick Sharp, Chicago ... 3

4. Zach Parise, New Jersey ... 3

Others receiving votes ... David Bolland, Brett Clark, Ales Hemsky, Jiri Hudler, Alex Steen, Kris Draper, Teemu Selanne, Shane Doan, Mike Richards, Johan Franzen, Daymond Langkow, Mike Fisher, Alexander Semin, Anton Volchenkov, Mikhail Grabovski, Dustin Brown, Olli Jokinen, Robyn Regehr, Mark Giordano, Brad Boyes, Andrei Markov, Chris Phillips, Pavel Datsyuk, Jay Bouwmeester, Willie Mitchell, Brenden Morrow, Marco Sturm, Niklas Hagman, Mike Green, Brent Burns

BEST-DRESSED COACH

1. Craig MacTavish, Edmonton ... 8

2. Tony Granato, Colorado ... 6

3. Don Cherry, CBC ... 4

3. Joel Quenneville, Chicago ... 4

3. Guy Carbonneau, Montreal ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Lindy Ruff, Barry Trotz, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Babcock, Mike Keenan, Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson, Andy Murray, Bruce Boudreau, Brent Sutter, Alain Vigneault, Pat Quinn

SMARTEST COACH

1. Mike Babcock, Detroit ... 12

2. Jacques Lemaire, Minnesota ... 7

2. Todd McLennan, San Jose ... 7

4. Lindy Ruff, Buffalo ... 4

4. Craig MacTavish, Edmonton ... 4

4. Andy Murray, St. Louis ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Ron Wilson, Bruce Boudreau, Craig Hartsburg, Claude Julien, Alain Vigneault, Ken Hitchcock, Joel Quenneville, Tom Renney

BEST STICKHANDLER

1. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit ... 18

2. Alexei Kovalev, Montreal ... 7

3. Ales Hemsky, Edmonton ... 4

3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh ... 4

3. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Alexander Ovechkin, Jason Spezza, Kristian Huselius, Martin St. Louis, David Perron, Ilya Kovalchuk, Michael Nylander, Rick Nash, Alexander Semin, Joe Thornton

BEST HOCKEY HAIR (i.e. Mullet)

1. Mike Commodore, Columbus ... 10

2. George Parros, Anaheim ... 8

3. Ryan Smyth, Colorado ... 7

4. Barry Melrose, ex-coach ... 3

4. Sheldon Souray, Edmonton ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Scott Hartnell, Daniel Carcillo, Tom Gilbert, Scott Hannan, Zack Stortini, Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Modano, Marc Crawford, Dustin Boyd, Jeremy Roenick, Georges Laraque, David Booth, Olli Jokinen, Mikhail Grabovski, Roberto Luongo, Kerry Fraser, Mikael Tellqvist, Nik Antropov

BEST NHL CITY

1. New York ... 14

2. Montreal ... 12

3. Chicago ... 8

4. Vancouver ... 7

5. Toronto ... 5

Others receiving votes ... San Jose, Boston, Calgary, Nashville

BEST FACEOFF ARTIST

1. Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina ... 15

2. Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles ... 6

3. Mike Zigomanis, Pittsburgh ... 4

3. Mike Modano, Dallas ... 4

3. Jason Arnott, Nashville ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Boyd Gordon, Joe Sakic, Marc Savard, Mats Sundin, Jason Spezza, Saku Koivu, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Andy MacDonald, Radek Bonk, Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper

BEST PASSER

1. Joe Thornton, San Jose ... 16

2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh ... 12

3. Marc Savard, Boston ... 7

4. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit ... 6

5. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Patrick Kane, Alexei Kovalev, Mike Ribiero, Ales Hemsky, Scott Niedermayer, Alexander Semin, Paul Stastny

DIRTIEST PLAYER

1. Ryan Hollweg, Toronto ... 12

2. Chris Pronger, Anaheim ... 8

3. Jarkko Ruutu, Ottawa ... 6

4. Sean Avery, in limbo ... 5

5. Steve Ott, Dallas ... 3

5. Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Jordin Tootoo, Cam Janssen, Matt Cooke, Darcy Tucker, Kris Draper, Jared Boll, Chris Kunitz, Andy Sutton, Steve Downie, Scott Hartnell

BEST FIGHTER

1. Georges Laraque, Montreal ... 24

2. Derek Boogaard, Minnesota ... 10

3. Eric Godard, Pittsburgh ... 7

4. Milan Lucic, Boston ... 4

5. George Parros, Anaheim ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Steve MacIntyre, Wade Belak, Brian McGrattan

HARDEST HITTER

1. Dion Phaneuf, Calgary ... 18

2. Jordin Tootoo, Nashville ... 8

3. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles ... 6

3. Milan Lucic, Boston ... 6

5. Robyn Regehr, Calgary ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Mike Komisarek, Anton Volchenkov, Brendan Witt, Jarkko Ruutu, Matt Cooke, Steve MacIntyre, Dustin Byfuglien

FUNNIEST PLAYER

1. Matt Greene, Los Angeles ... 8

2. Ian Laperriere, Colorado ... 6

3. Jeremy Roenick, San Jose ... 5

4. Andre Roy, Calgary ... 4

4. Maxime Talbot, Pittsburgh ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Ryan Hollweg, Wade Belak, Steve Ott, Shean Donovan, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Kostopoulos, Sean Avery, Craig Conroy, Marc Bergevin, Rhett Warrener, Marty Reasoner, Joe Thornton, Colby Armstrong, Martin Biron, Alex Burrows, Adam Foote, George Parros

BEST TRASH TALKER

1. Sean Avery, in limbo ... 28

2. Steve Ott, Dallas ... 6

3. Jarkko Ruutu, Ottawa ... 4

4. Darcy Tucker, Colorado ... 2

4. Zack Stortini, Edmonton ... 2

4. Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis ... 2

Others receiving votes ... Mike Richards, Mike Comrie, Dion Phaneuf, Brett Hull, Ian Laperriere

PLAYER YOU'D MOST LIKE TO BUILD A TEAM AROUND

1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington ... 21

2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh ... 14

3. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver ... 9

4. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh ... 4

5. Jarome Iginla, Calgary ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Nicklas Lidstrom, Daniel Alfredsson

BEST REFEREE

1. Kerry Fraser ... 12

2. Bill McCreary ... 10

3. Paul Devorski ... 3

3. Don Van Massenhoven ... 3

3. Kelly Sutherland ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Don Marouelli, Wes McCauley, Brad Watson, Don Jackson, Mike Leggo, Rob Schick

TOUGHEST GOALIE TO FACE

1. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver ... 35

2. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey ... 6

3. Tim Thomas, Boston ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Carey Price, Evgeni Nabokov, Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist

OPPONENT YOU'D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ON YOUR TEAM

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington ... 17

2. Jarome Iginla, Calgary ... 5

2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh ... 5

4. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit ... 4

5. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver ... 3

5. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Joe Thornton, Ian Laperriere, Ilya Kovalchuk, Scott Niedermayer

IF YOU COULD PICK ANY OTHER NHL TEAM TO PLAY FOR, IT'D BE

1. Los Angeles ... 8

2. San Jose ... 5

3. Montreal ... 4

3. New York Rangers ... 4

3. Toronto ... 4

Others receiving votes ... Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Florida, Anaheim

IF YOU WEREN'T AN NHL PLAYER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE

1. Golfer ... 9

2. Businessman ... 8

3. Broadcasting/media ... 4

4. Teacher ... 3

4. Hockey coach ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Bar owner, baseball player, Quarterback, police officer, sport-fisherman, home improvement master, firefighter

WHEN YOU WERE A KID, YOUR FAVOURITE HOCKEY PLAYER WAS

1. Wayne Gretzky ... 10

2. Mario Lemieux ... 5

3. Patrick Roy ... 3

3. Lanny McDonald ... 3

3. Steve Yzerman ... 3

Others receiving votes ... Paul Coffey, Dave Keon, Joe Sakic, Johnny Bower, Denis Savard, Stan Smyl, Doug Harvey, Bobby Hull, Dave Manson, Doug Gilmour, Bryan Trottier, Gord Kluzak, Gordie Howe, Pierre Turgeon, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Gelinas, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier, Richard Brodeur, Bob Probert, Bobby Clarke, Cam Neely


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