Winnipeg named worst road city in new poll by NHL players

6 novembre 2019
Have you ever wondered about some of the more unique aspects of life in the NHL? Best and worst cities to play in? Drug use in the league? Opinions on the Pacific Northwest’s new team? ESPN breaks it down in their NHL player confidential, in which they canvassed 50 different players from various teams in the league, anonymously, of course.

Traveling all over North America for half of the season surely takes its toll, but it’s part of the lifestyle. What locker room/arenas are players favorite? Least favorite?

Which team has the best visiting locker room?

Edmonton Oilers: 40%

Vegas Golden Knights: 28%

Detroit Red Wings: 20%

Minnesota Wild: 12%

“Edmonton is like a penthouse. There's so much space."

"The visiting locker room is the best thing about going to Edmonton."

"Vegas is huge. Good showers. No one is close to each other. The trainers have their own space, coaches have their own space. Usually you don't have that as the road team."

On the flip side;

Which team has the worst visiting locker room?

Washington Capitals: 42%

Boston Bruins: 34%

Carolina Hurricanes: 18%

New York Islanders: 4%

Florida Panthers: 2%

“Washington's showers are so bad. They're like a prison shower. There's a pole in the middle, then just spews that come out of that one pole. Not that I care if someone is showering next to me, but it's just a really weird setup."

“Boston is brutal. You're right there next to the rink. It's cold. You're not comfortable. If you feel comfortable, you're going to play well, so that's probably why they do it. It's a competitive advantage for them."

Which road city do you dread the most?

Winnipeg: 42%

Buffalo: 34%

Edmonton: 10%

Calgary: 4%

Ottawa: 4%

Carolina [Raleigh, N.C.]: 4%

Columbus: 2%

"Winnipeg. It's always cold. Tough rink to play in. It's just dirty -- you walk around the city and feel like you need to wash your face after you go outside. So nothing about it is very exciting."

"Winnipeg is just depressing. You don't even want to leave the hotel to get a cup of coffee."

"I'm sure a lot of people said Winnipeg, but I always like Winnipeg. There's stuff to do there. We're close to the casino, if you want to go for a half hour or whatever. Wherever you go, they always have TSN on. I can't get that here [on my U.S.-based team]."

"Carolina. The arena is far out. It's in the middle of nowhere. There's never anything going on. There's nice golf, but it's not like you have time to go play a round. You usually end up spending your whole time there in your hotel."

"Buffalo is brutal. I don't think anyone looks forward to going to Buffalo."

"Buffalo always feels cold and dark. I have an eight-team no-trade list, and that's one of my cities on it."

"Did a lot of guys say Buffalo? I actually like Buffalo. I get an unreal steak there every time. You really only need one good restaurant, and there's a great steakhouse there we always go to."

Travel conditions weren’t the only hot-button questions ESPN was seeking comment on. With a 32nd team soon to be joining the league, the hockey world is buzzing about the expansion draft, and who will end up in Seattle.

Would you play for Seattle in Year One?

Yes: 60%

No: 40%

“The success of Vegas has definitely opened guys' minds up to it a little more. I'd probably like playing there, but I wouldn't want my team to give me up."

"The travel would probably suck, but other than that it would be sick."

"I think it would be a lot of fun. It's a great city, and it seems like they're putting a lot of money into that rink, so it's going to be cool. And it worked out last time with Vegas, so why not?"

Within the past few days, there has been a lot of talk about drug use, including cocaine use among players. ESPN would tackle those subjects as well, receiving anonymous input from players around the league.

The NHL doesn't punish for recreational drugs. Is that good or bad?

Good: 24%

Bad: 14%

Indifferent: 62%

“I think it's both. If you're talking about marijuana and cocaine ... one of those drugs is probably beneficial, the other one is not. So maybe [the policy] needs to be redefined."

"If it's not performance enhancing and it doesn't give you an edge, then whatever."

“If you're a pro athlete, you should know what's good for you. Marijuana -- we all grew up [hearing that] it was so bad for you. And now it's legal. Our kids are going to grow up [thinking] it's just normal. It's like beer is for us. But cocaine? I don't think there is any room for that."

"I think it's good. In the other sports, you see guys getting suspended for weed. It's their body. I'd rather have that than opioids, right?"

Given the league's approach to recreational drug use, does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

Yes: 10%

No: 58%

I don't know: 32%

“Has anyone said yes to this question? I really don't think there is one, so I'd be shocked if someone said yes."

"I've never seen it. I don't know if it's just my team, but I've never seen it."

“You hear stories of it, and they're kind of shocking. Maybe in the summer guys get into it. And maybe 10, 20 years ago you would see it more often and it was around the team more often. But I've never really been on a team where guys are doing it all the time. I've actually never seen guys do it during the season or anything like that."

The anonymity of the poll allows for accurate answers, and a far more accurate gauging of life inside the NHL. To see all the questions asked of the 50 NHL players, follow the tweet below from ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
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