RALEIGH--It's going to be hard for Grapes to explain this one away.
With the inimitable one, Donald S. Cherry, having spent years from his Hockey Night in Canada pulpit assuring his viewers that NHL players hate the instigator rule, a poll conducted by HNIC itself in conjunction with the NHL Players Association suggests he's dead wrong.
The survey of 318 NHL playes showed an overwhelming 66 per cent would be opposed to the elimination of the instigator, with only 33 per cent in favour.
The poll had other intriguing results, including another negative result for the Maple Leafs, with head coach Ron Wilson voted by 24 per cent of the players to be the coach they'd least like to play for, more than any other NHL coach. That came after Phil Kessel was the last player taken in Friday's all-star draft.
Sidney Crosby was voted the toughest forward to play against by 29 per cent of respondents, with Alex Ovechkin a distant second at 11 per cent. Washington is regarded by players as the most overrated team, Loui Eriksson of Dallas is the most underrated player, while the Islanders (27 per cent) and Oilers (20 per cent) are the teams most would least want to play for.
The entire poll can be viewed on the NHLPA's web site.