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NHL players: Marie-Philip Poulin is world’s best female hockey player

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The U.S. may have the world’s best women’s hockey team, but NHL players believe Canadian Marie-Philip Poulin is the world’s best player.

Poulin received the most votes out of 496 responses in the 2019-20 NHLPA Player Poll, conducted before the season was suspended. The tally:

Poulin: 39.92%
Hilary Knight (USA): 36.29%
Kendall Coyne Schofield (USA): 15.52%
Emily Pfalzer Matheson (USA): 1.41%
Other: 6.85%

Last year, Knight received the highest percentage of votes from 203 NHL players (27.59), edging Poulin (24.14) with Amanda Kessel third (12.81) and Coyne Schofield and Pfalzer Matheson each receiving 5.91 percent.

Why were Poulin and Knight swapped this year? Perhaps Poulin’s Canadian team winning the debut of the NHL All-Star Skills Competition women’s 3-on-3 game on Jan. 24, even though Knight scored and Poulin did not.

Poulin, now 29, scored both goals in the 2010 Olympic final and the game-tying and -winning goals in the 2014 Olympic final. Even before her Olympic debut at age 18, the daughter of Quebec hospital workers was dubbed “the female Sidney Crosby.”

Knight, 30, led last April’s world championship tournament with seven goals as the U.S. won a fifth straight title. Poulin played 4 minutes, 44 seconds, total at the tournament, missing time with a knee injury.

This spring’s tournament, which was to start Tuesday, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Men’s hockey world championship canceled, ending winter sports season

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The men’s hockey world championship, scheduled for May in Switzerland, has been canceled, effectively ending the Winter Olympic sports season.

“This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” IIHF President René Fasel said in a press release. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family.”

Men’s hockey worlds traditionally mark the final major competition of the winter sports season. World championships scheduled for March or April in figure skating, women’s hockey, short track speed skating and curling were previously canceled.

The last winter sports world championships to take place this season were in bobsled, skeleton and long-track speed skating the last weekend of February.

USA Hockey had already named 1988 and 1994 Olympian Peter Laviolette as head coach, though it had not named a roster.

Last year, a U.S. team captained by Patrick Kane lost in the quarterfinals, extending the program’s drought. The last gold at a standalone worlds came in 1933. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Finland won the world title for the first time since 2011. It became the first nation to win a world title without a player who finished that season on an NHL roster since at least 1993, not counting the 1995 and 2005 lockout years. The NHL didn’t participate in the Olympics until 1998.

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Hilary Knight the latest U.S. hockey star to add NHL game broadcast role

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Hilary Knight, arguably the greatest goal scorer of her generation, will shift roles this week.

She will be NBC Sports Washington’s inside-the-glass analyst for a Washington Capitals-Chicago Blackhawks game on Saturday.

“To be honest, I want to just make sure I don’t get hit with the puck,” Knight said with a laugh, according to the Washington Post. “But I’m excited to be at ice level and see how the game unfolds.”

Knight previously served as an NBC Sports guest studio analyst for one night during last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Knight’s PyeongChang teammates to previously test out broadcast roles include two-time Olympic captain Meghan Duggan, who gave birth to son George on Feb. 29. Duggan appeared on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame show during the 2018 and 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Also, Monique Lamoureux-Morando (NHL All-Star Skills commentator), Kendall Coyne Schofield (San Jose Sharks game analyst, plus an inside-the-glass analyst for last Sunday’s St. Louis Blues-Blackhawks game on NBCSN) and Haley Skarupa (NBC Sports Washington broadcast team during 2018 playoffs).

Of those players, Knight and Coyne Schofield made the roster for the world championship tournament that ended up being canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

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