Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
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Back in April, the KHL carried out a survey among its players, asking them to share their thoughts on some of the big issues in the league. With the promise of total anonymity, we got some answers that give a unique snapshot of who commands respect throughout the competition. More than 200 players from every club in the KHL responded to the survey — and in part one we get to hear about the most popular coaches, toughest opponents and hardest hitters in our game.

Which coach would you most like to play for?

There was a clear winner in this category — Spartak Moscow’s Oleg Znarok. The three-time Gagarin Cup winner attracted more than 20% of the votes, well ahead of the competition. The rest of the top five comprised Igor Nikitin, David Nemirovsky, Alexander Andrievsky and Vladimir Krikunov, each of whom polled around 5%. Among the more unlikely answers, there were votes for Soviet-era legend Anatoly Tarasov, NHL legends Ken Hitchcock and Scotty Bowman, colorful Czech Milos Riha and current Tampa Bay Lightning boss John Cooper.

Which player is your toughest opponent?

There was a clear leader in this section as well — CSKA’s Kirill Kaprizov topped the charts with 12% of the votes. The rest of the top five reflected two of the most effective partnerships in the KHL this season: Salavat Yulaev’s Teemu Hartikainen and Linus Omark were second and fourth, with Dynamo Moscow’s Vadim Shipachyov and Dmitrij Jaskin ranked third and fifth, all separated by a handful of votes.

Just outside the top five we find three legendary forwards: Sergei Mozyakin (3.5%), Pavel Datsyuk and Danis Zaripov (both 3%). Slava Voynov was the highest ranked defenseman, and Ilya Sorokin was voted the toughest goalie, both with 2% of the votes.

Whose hits would you least like to take?

Evgeny Artyukhin is the physical presence that KHL players fear most — he picked up more than 30% of the votes in this section. Next came Stepan Zakharchuk (10%), then Mikhail Pashnin (8%), Alexei Emelin (4%) and Andrei Mironov (3.5%). Meanwhile, one player jokingly nominated Mikhail Anisin, who played last season with Humo Tashkent in the VHL.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
exclusive for

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