NHL Confidential

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This story appears in the April 5 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

We didn't need the Olympics to confirm the bond between hockey and our northern neighbor. When we asked a sample of 50 NHLers a few pressing questions about their sport, "Anywhere in Canada" was offered 47 times -- in response to six different questions. Don't worry, though, our panel of pros got in their share of crosschecks, too.


1. Who's the NHL's best player?
2. What is the best franchise?
3. Who's the smartest coach?
4. Should the NHL eliminate some teams?
5. Which team has the best ice?
6. Who's the top ref?
7. Who has the best visitors' locker room?
8. Who has the best groupies?
9. Who's the best fighter?
10. Who's the dirtiest player?
11. Who has the hottest spouse?
12. Do you think you have any gay teammates?
13. Grade Gary Bettman, A through F, on the job he's doing as commish.
14. Who has the smartest fans in the NHL
15. Do you think any of your teammates are taking PEDs
16. Are goalie pads too big?
17. Have you ever been approached about fixing the outcome of a game?
18. True or False: Hockey players are missing a lot of teeth.
19. What one change would help the NHL's popularity the most?
20. Who will win the Stanley Cup this year?