It's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Which goalie do you trust with your team's life? New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has reiterated his goal of playing until he's 45. Do any NHL superstars share that aspiration? There was an agonizing debate last year over whether Connor McDavid should be considered for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, despite the Edmonton Oilers' not making the playoffs. Is the decision as controversial among NHL players? What's one award NHL players would like to see shelled out every spring? How many stitches do NHL players accumulate? An NHL team in Europe: good idea or too much travel?
We're glad you were wondering what hockey players had to say about these topics, too. In another mega roundtable, ESPN polled NHL superstars for their opinions on these questions. Here's what the players had to say:
It's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. You can trust one goalie -- not on your current roster -- with your life back there. Whom are you taking?
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights goalie: Carey Price. I like him in general. He's very good. And he's very composed and relaxed. If it's Game 7, he'll just jump in and be himself. He won't be too excited.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals center: Tuukka Rask. I feel like there's only a few guys in the league who are trying to [mess] with you, they not that big, and they still make those unbelievable saves. Just a couple times, we would talk. I tried to do it in a game, and it seems to me that he always has fun and is enjoying the hockey. I like those small goalies, like Jonathan Quick, Tuukka Rask, [Braden] Holtby. That's the kind of style for me.
If you could create a new award to give to NHL players, what would it be?
Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks defenseman: Defensive Defenseman. I'd like that. That'd help me, I think, because I don't think I'm going to do some damage in the offense category, but I might in the defensive category. I won it in college, and I felt it was nice because I wasn't going to win the offense one, but I still got credit.
Seguin: Best Guy. You'd have to take a poll around the league, and whoever gets the most votes would be the Best Guy.
Domi (when informed of Seguin's choice): Oh, I love Best Guy. It would just be for a good dude. Everyone likes him. Nobody can say anything bad about him. Good in the room. It's a popularity contest, but it's not necessarily someone who is the best player, but it's a guy without a selfish bone in his body. He does everything for his team, on and off the ice. Guy of the Year.
Lee: I'm sure one day we'll have a social media award. See who either has the most presence or gets the most followers or helps to promote the game. I'm sure something along those lines would happen. A former player who has really taken that on is Paul Bissonnette.
Giroux: Best Blooper. I think that's underrated. There's always funny bloopers out there, and fans would enjoy that. Our team, we love it when something happens, somebody falls on the blue line by themselves, and we always replay it. One time, Sean Couturier was late in a shift, he was on the ice like a minute and a half, and he made a nice play to get a breakaway, but he was absolutely dead tired. So he was further than everyone else, but they all just caught up to him. We watched that a lot.
Does a player need to be in the playoffs to win the Hart Trophy?
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche center: I think so. I could see both arguments. I lean toward being in the playoffs [being required] because that's the whole goal -- making the playoffs to win the Cup. The regular season, the whole point is to make the playoffs, so it kind of makes sense for the MVP to be from a playoff team.
Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman: I don't think so. I think if you're clearly the best player on your team, and you do everything you can that year, and your numbers add up with other guys' numbers ... I think it's more of just being a playoff team, to be honest.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers winger: I think it's probably something that should be taken into consideration. I mean, how important to a team could a player be if he didn't make the playoffs? [But] hockey is the consummate team game, so it doesn't matter if you have the best player in the world, you need the best players around him, you need a good group.
Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators center: I think so. I don't think it should be mandatory, but If I'm ever voting for the league MVP, it's most likely someone who was a big part of their team's success.
Do you have a goal for how long you'd like to play?
McDavid (age 21): You don't have a goal. You want to play for as long as you're still contributing and doing your thing, and as long as you're healthy and it's safe to keep playing, you'd play forever if you could. The league now, there's so much turnover with young guys coming in who are so good. It's only going to get better.
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets center (age 25): I want to play until I'm 40. That's my goal. There are so many opportunities now to innovate to get a little bit of an edge, and I love exploring that. Doing the right things now will affect me 10 years from now and will give me the longevity to play until I'm old.
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils winger (age 26): I'd love to play until I'm at least 35. The game is getting younger and younger, but I feel like my skating, the way I play, it's going to lend itself to playing a long time. I think when you're older, you need to find a niche. So when I'm 35, I'm not going to be the same player I am today. So I'm going to have to figure out, is it penalty-killing, is it playing on the third line or a five-on-five scorer role? Then obviously, when you're that old, you need to be a guy that is a good leader for the young guys. It's really growing into that player as you grow older because teams want to be younger, teams want to pay these young guys six figures to play. Instead of paying a 36-year-old $4 million, they want to pay the same player $800,000. It's a fun thing to think about when I get older.
Toews (age 30): Yeah, I guess I'm at that point where I'm in my 30s, and I definitely think about that. I would love to play as long as I can. There are a lot of little things as far as maintaining your longevity, whether it's the flexibility and mobility, avoiding injuries and I think just recovering and sleeping well. Being healthy off the ice plays a way bigger part into your career than it did in your early 20s, when you can get away with anything.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins center (age 33): Oh my god, no. I'm trying to take it ... now I have four years left on my contract, and that's all I'm worrying about now. I'm impressed with [Tom Brady] and Zdeno [Chara] at 41 and still playing at such a high level. I wish I'll be able to do that, but time will tell.
Fleury (age 33): I just want to play until I get kicked out of the league or I don't have fun anymore.
If the NHL put a team in Europe, would you want to play there, or would it be too much travel?
Giroux: That's a lot of travel. In the KHL, they have that one team that's, like, a nine-hour flight, so it's definitely possible, but it wouldn't be easy.
Lee: It definitely would be a lot of travel, but I think it would be a lot of fun. The hardest part would be being away from family and being able to zip home at short breaks we have, like All-Star break or Christmas break.
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks center: Being on the West Coast, we travel so much. Our closest game is an hour-and-a-half flight. To go all the way over there would be really grueling on the body, but it'd be fun to play there a couple times.
Bergeron: Too much travel. We do five-, six-hour flights. It's the time change that would be hard. But I'd be open to a team being there.
Domi: Too much travel. I was already in the West, and I thought that was too much travel. I'm glad to be in the East now.
McDavid: Too much travel for me, but I would love to see what that's all about. I hear a lot of guys talk about the old lockout and when they went over to play for a year and how much fun they had and how much they liked it. It would be a good experience to play there.
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins defenseman: I don't even know how they would do that scheduling. That would be crazy. It would be pretty unique, too, to be able to take in another country's culture for a season.
How many stitches have you gotten in your career?
Hall: With surgeries and everything like that, I'll go with close to 100. Probably over 100.
Lee: Probably somewhere around 30-40. Not too many in my face, thankfully.
Seguin: 50? 60? The most stitches was probably my elbow. I had a bursa sac, but then it shattered my elbow once it blew up. Then I had to get it all out and fix the elbow. I tattooed over it so you can't see it anymore, but it's like 35 stitches.
Giroux: Probably over 75.
Trocheck: 450. Probably close. Since I turned 16 and went to junior, from 16 until now is when I got most of them. Probably about 200 since I got to the NHL.
Horvat: 15-20, not bad. After I made it to the NHL is when I got them all. [The worst] was a puck to the back of the head. It hit my helmet, but the shot was so hard, it was an impact, and it kind of split. That hurt a lot. Nikita Tryamkin took the shot. Big, big boy. It didn't feel very good.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars winger: 100. A skate laceration to my inner thigh was the worst: 13 on the inside and I don't know how many on the outside.
McDavid: Not many. Probably under 50.
Fleury: 10 stitches. Maybe three times I was stitched up.