The Rangers and Islanders were largely absent from the results of the NHL Players Association poll, the results of which were released Tuesday. But the Rangers did make an appearance in the best jersey category, where voters chose the Broadway Blueshirt as the fourth-nicest jersey in the league.
The Rangers jersey was chosen No. 1 by 6.38 percent of the 400 voters who answered the question, coming in well behind runaway winner Chicago (28.25 percent), but just behind the Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs (6.83 percent each) who were tied for second. It was the only appearance by either local team in the poll, which anonymously surveyed players on all of the league’s 31 teams on a variety of topics during the 2019-20 season.
Off the ice, 73 percent of 563 respondents said they would like to see the NHL’s game-day dress code be relaxed, to be more like the NBA’s. Currently, NHL players are expected to wear suits on game days. On the ice, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers was chosen as the NHL’s top forward for the second straight year, garnering 68.35 percent of the 556 votes cast to beat out runner-up Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins by a landslide margin. Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Hart Trophy winner as league Most Valuable Player, and two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP, got 14.93 percent of the votes.
Crosby, though, was the voters’ pick as the one player they would want on their team if they needed to win one game. He beat out McDavid by a margin of 44.03 percent to 30.53 percent. Crosby was also voted the league’s best all-around player, beating out Boston’s Patrice Bergeron (45.56 percent to 25.44 percent).
Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman was the players’ pick (37.88 percent) as best defenseman, beating out Washington’s John Carlson (21.35 percent). The Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price was the choice as top goaltender, getting 41.55 percent of the votes. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was second, with 17.09 percent.
Boston’s Brad Marchand was named the league’s best trash talker, with 25.87 percent of the vote. He was also named the worst trash talker (with no explanation as to the difference). Voters declared Florida’s Keith Yandle – a former Ranger – to be the league’s funniest man. Yandle got 17.98 percent of the vote, with the L.A. Kings’ Drew Doughty second at 6.94 percent. (Doughty, by the way, also finished second in both the best and worst trash-talking categories.)
The Devils’ P.K. Subban was the choice (13.59 percent) as the best player to follow on social media, while 25.68 percent of voters said Crosby was the player who wasn’t on social media but should be.
Wayne Gretzky was chosen as the player – past or present – most voters would pay to see play. Gretzky got 31.83 percent of that vote, with defenseman Bobby Orr finishing second with 14.99 percent.
Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin (39.92 percent) edged out the USA’s Hilary Knight (36.29 percent) for the world’s best female player according to 496 voters.
Bell Centre, in Montreal, the home of the Canadiens, was chosen as the building with the best ice in the league, garnering 31.75 percent of the vote. Edmonton’s Rogers Place (16.75 percent) was second and Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place third. Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, with 8.75 percent of the vote, was fourth, and best in the U.S.
Gritty, of the Philadelphia Flyers, was named the NHLPA’s favorite mascot, with 69.7 percent of the vote. No other mascot got as much as 3 percent in the polling.