Blackhawks fans and Joel Quenneville are NHLPA favorites in 2017-2018


CHICAGO – Victories haven’t been as common for the Blackhawks during the 2017-2018 season as in years past, but they got a pair of them from the National Hockey League Player’s Association this week.

The annual Player Poll was released by the organization this week and the Blackhawks were tops in two categories: Fans and head coach.

Voted on by the NHL players, Blackhawks fans were voted the best in the league by a wide margin, garnering 30.4 percent of the vote. That’s 11 percentage points higher than second place Nashville, whom 19.4 percent of players voted the best in the league.

Most likely because of that, the United Center was voted the second best venue in the NHL to play a game in this season, trailing only the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Joel Quenneville was voted the head coach which players would like to take the ice for, garnering 16.5 percent of the vote. That was just better than Jon Cooper of the Lightning who got 14.2 percent of the votes.

A few Blackhawks players also garnered some sizable votes in the poll. Patrick Kane was voted the third most difficult player to face the league along with the third most difficult forward to square off with in a contest. He was also fourth in the voting for the one player you would want to have to win one game.

Jonathan Toews finished second in the voting for best role model and best team player, fourth for a player you’d start a team with, and fifth for the current NHL player that would make a good head coach.

Ulf Samuelsson was third in the voting for the next assistant likely to be elevated to head coach in the near future.

After signing defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a two-year deal on Tuesday, the Blackhawks decided to do the same with one of the guys he’ll take the ice with in the near future.

On Thursday the Blackhawks signed fellow defenseman Jan Rutta to a one-year contract extension through the 2018-2019 season.

In his first NHL season, Rutta has six goals and 13 assists in 43 games, as his goal total is the highest for defensemen on the team.