Anonymous NHL player poll reveals player with the most punchable face: ‘Always hated the guy’

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A mid-year review from around the league is in, and what some NHL players had to say about their fellow athletes may not go over so well. 

The Athletic posted its results from an anonymous player poll on Wednesday, and while some players received nods as the best in the league or in their respective positions, others claimed titles in some less than impressive categories. 

Connor McDavid during a faceoff

Connor McDavid of the Oilers awaits a face-off against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place on Jan. 27, 2024, in Edmonton, Canada. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins is one of them. 


Of the 147 players polled on “whose face you most want to punch,” Cousins won by a landslide, receiving 28.57% of the vote. 

“Played against him a long time,” one player told The Athletic of Cousins. “Always hated the guy.”

“I’m buddies with him and I’d still say him,” another told the outlet.

Nick Cousins skates on the ice

Nick Cousins of the Florida Panthers skates against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Nov. 27, 2023, in Ontario, Canada. (André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)


Of the players named, Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand came in second with 14.97% of the votes, followed by Matthew Tkachuk of the Panthers and Michael Bunting of the Carolina Hurricanes. 

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Perhaps most surprising, was Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson – infamous in the league for his role as an agitator, finishing among the bottom of those players named. 

The Athletic’s poll surveyed nearly 200 players in the first half of the season across a variety of topics, including the best player and goalie, most overrated, and favorite road cities.


To no one’s surprise, Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid was named best in the league by nearly 70% of the voters and Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Vezina Trophy winner, was given the top recognition for goalies in the league. 

Vegas Golden knights at MSG

Nicolas Hague, left, and Adin Hill of the Vegas Golden Knights skate against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 26, 2024, in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most predictable result was the players’ favorite cities to play in when on the road. Despite being relatively new to the league, Las Vegas claimed the top spot, with just over 25% of the 182 players surveyed voting in favor of the popular destination city, and New York came in second with just over 22% of the votes. 

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