Where do NHL players want to play? CBC/NHLPA poll says the Lightning is the No. 5 destination
Canada's CBC and the NHL Players Association released a poll in which 318 NHL players took part and which showed the Tampa Bay Lightning the fifth most-popular choice as to which organization players want to play for. The top choices were the Red Wings, Canucks, Blackhawks and Rangers. But to be fifth? Especially considering where the franchise was the past few years is a testament to owner Jeff Vinik and general manager Steve Yzerman, not to mention the coaches and players who have transformed the organization from a doormat and made the place somewhere potential free agents will want to sign.
The Lightning organization was named quite a few times in the poll:
Worst ice? The St. Pete Times Forum was third worst behind Florida's BankAtlantic Center and New York's Madison Square Garden.
Coach players would like to play for? Tampa Bay's Guy Boucher was fourth behind Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma, Detroit's Mike Babcock and Phoenix's Dave Tippett.
Player with which to start a franchise? Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos was third behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.
Cleanest player? Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis was second behind Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk.
Role model? St. Louis was fifth behind Crosby, Lidstrom, Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Phoenix's Shane Doan.
Smartest player? St. Louis was fifth behind Crosby, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Vancouver's Henrik Sedin.
Hardest shot? Stamkos was fifth behind Boston's Zdeno Chara, Nashville's Shea Weber, the Islanders Milan Jurcina and Calgary's Ales Kotalik.
For goalies, who is the toughest player to stop? Stamkos was third behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Crosby.
Other interesting stuff: Ninety-eight percent of players want to keep fighting in the game but 66 percent want to keep the instigator rule.
For the entire poll, go to: