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The Penn State Hockey Player Poll: Peyton Jones’ Fear Of Elevators, Blake Gober’s Style, & More

Penn State hockey’s 2019-20 regular season is nearing its conclusion, so what better time is there to get to know this year’s cast of Nittany Lions than now?

We got the idea to conduct a short, simple poll with the players from The Athletic‘s NHL coverage. Every year, The Athletic runs both league-wide and team-centered player polls that ask questions ranging from “Who’s the best player in the league?” to “Who hopes he gets noticed and asked for an autograph?” Some of the site’s 31 NHL reporters conduct more serious, analysis-based polls with their beats, and others opt to have some fun with the players they cover.

Naturally, we decided to go the fun route when polling the Nittany Lions. We asked 12 Penn State hockey players the following five questions — a few of which were ~inspired~ by The Athletic‘s polls:

  • Who are the best and worst trash-talkers on the team?
  • Who are the best and worst dressed players?
  • Who has the best and worst taste in music?
  • Who spends the most time in the weight room?
  • Who wouldn’t you want to be stuck in an elevator with?

The votes were tallied based on the first name each player said after hearing a question, and all in the receiving votes category got just one vote unless otherwise noted.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Best Trash-Talker

The Winner: Evan Barratt (four votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Connor MacEachern (four, including himself), Cole Hults (two), Adam Pilewicz, Max Sauvé

Worst Trash-Talker

The Winner: Connor MacEachern (four votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Liam Folkes (two, including himself), Blake Gober, Nate Sucese, Will Holtforster, Paul DeNaples, Brandon Biro, Alex Limoges (self-vote)

What They Said: “The best? I’d say Barratt. Barratt’s always chirping and getting in guys’ heads.” -Paul DeNaples

“Hults is a good one. He’s not all the time, but when he does, you’re lucky when you hear him. He’s funny.” -Evan Barratt

“I feel like an underrated guy is Max Sauvé. He’s real quick on his feet. I’d like to say I’m pretty good. I’m pretty quick on my feet — not to pump my own tires.” -Brandon Biro

“Best chirper? Definitely me — or Barratt, probably. Barratt’s not a bad chirper.” -Connor MacEachern

“The worst is MacEachern. By far.” -DeNaples

“The worst, I’ve got to say me. I don’t really try to get under people’s skin. I have friends on the other team, I don’t know.” -Alex Limoges

“Myself. I don’t say anything. Like, I just black out. I freeze up and don’t know what to say.” -Liam Folkes

Analysis: Over the past three years, I’ve watched Evan Barratt make the crybaby gesture at a Minnesota defenseman who was threatening to cut his throat, and I’ve seen him turn toward an opposing blueliner and start running his mouth immediately after Penn State scored a goal. He actually finished tied with Connor MacEachern with four votes in the “best” category, but we’re giving Barratt the nod for those chirps and a couple tiebreakers.

First of all, MacEachern voted for himself as the best chirper — an aggressive display of self-confidence, to say the least. Unfortunately, that vote doesn’t really count as much, and the freshman won the “worst” vote. Having the same guy win two contrasting awards is a tough look for all parties involved.

Keep your head held high, Connor. You’re still a beauty.

Best Dressed

The Winner: Blake Gober (four votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Paul DeNaples (three), Aarne Talvitie, Evan Bell, Tyler Gratton, Liam Folkes, Peyton Jones (self-vote)

Worst Dressed

The Winner: Connor MacEachern (two votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Liam Folkes, Mason Snell, Alex Stevens, Nikita Pavlychev, Cole Hults, Paul DeNaples, Adam Pilewicz, Will Holtforster

What They Said: “I’d love to say myself, but Blake Gober has some sneaky style.” -Paul DeNaples

“I like the way Gober dresses.” -Liam Folkes

“Gober gets new shoes, like, every week. We have a lot of average guys, but I’ll go Gober just because I like his shoes.” -Brandon Biro

“Best dressed? I’d say Folkes or me. We take good pride in what we wear every day to the rink.” -Nate Sucese

“Hults has pretty good style…I could also put Hults in bad. He wears some bad colors. He loves his browns and greens.” -Evan Barratt

“Pilewicz. He just dresses like a slob every day.” -Liam Folkes

“I’ve never really looked at someone like ‘Why would you wear that,’ so I think everyone’s got decent style.” -Peyton Jones

Analysis: To be honest, it was pretty hard to get a read on this one. As Alex Limoges noted, he doesn’t see all of his teammates’ suits prior to each game, which is why he abstained from casting a vote for the worst dresser. Team captain Brandon Biro added that there are a lot of “average” dressers within the team.

Poor Connor MacEachern can’t seem to catch a break in this poll so far. The 10 players who chose to vote on this question picked a combined nine different players, and the freshman center was the only one of those to receive multiple votes. MacEachern’s teammates were somewhat decisive in giving him the worst chirper award, but this one just feels like bad luck.

As far as the best dresser on the team is concerned, Paul DeNaples got edged out late in the voting by Blake Gober. This isn’t the first appearance-related competition the defenseman has lost this season after he came up just short in Penn State’s annual Movember competition. If there’s any consolation, at least DeNaples lost with honor by resisting the urge to vote for himself.

Gober is a senior, so DeNaples might just take the best dressed title by default next year — unless, of course, an incoming freshman just so happens to be the next Henrik Lundqvist.

Best Taste In Music

The Winner: Liam Folkes (four votes, including for himself)
Also Receiving Votes: Max Sauvé (two), James Gobetz (two), Nate Sucese (two), Cole Hults

Worst Taste In Music

The Winner: Nate Sucese (three votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Peyton Jones (two), Nikita Pavlychev, Brandon Biro, Adam Pilewicz, Liam Folkes, Blake Gober

What They Said: “We all kind of listen to the same stuff. I don’t know. Guys usually listen to rap or country music.” -Evan Barratt, who respectfully abstained from voting

“That’s tough. I know a lot of guys like rap, but [Peyton Jones] always plays hard rap. There’s a time and place for things, but Jones — maybe it’s a bit much at times.” -Alex Limoges

“I’m going to say Folkes has good taste. We share a lot of the same likes — lot of 80s, country, rap. We’re all over the place.” -Brandon Biro

“Good taste — I’d probably say Max Sauvé. Old-school guy.” -Connor McMenamin

“Max Sauvé. He’s got a wide variety of stuff he likes, and we give him the iPod in the locker room.” -Alex Limoges

“It depends. I like all genres. I’d say me, Gober, and Biro’s pretty good. I don’t mind country, but it’s not my first go-to, so the worst is anyone who’s favorite genre is country.” -Liam Folkes

“I mean, Sucese isn’t great. He really only likes country.” -Biro

“The guys who aren’t good at music don’t really play music. I don’t really know who’s the worst.” -Peyton Jones

Analysis: It was also really tough to get a good read on this one. Barratt and Jones abstained from voting because everybody on the team has similar taste in music, but Nate Sucese still emerged as the, uh, winner in the worst category.

Alex Limoges graciously shared the fact that Jones is a big Post Malone guy. Post Malone’s music is good, but as Limoges said, there’s always a time and place for certain things. Elsewhere, Liam Folkes initially said his linemate was up there with the worst before remembering Limoges’ affinity for The Weeknd.

As far as the best is concerned, we respect the hell out of Max Sauvé’s apparently-diverse and old-school music taste. However, Folkes made a late charge to earn the crown as Penn State hockey’s king of the aux. The first eight players we polled didn’t say the alternate captain’s name at all, but the final four — including Folkes himself — all cast their votes for No. 26.

Folkes would’ve won without the self-vote, but winning by a margin of two instead of one doesn’t matter all that much at the end of the day.

Who Spends The Most Time In The Weight Room?

The Winner: Peyton Jones (three votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Nate Sucese (three, including himself), Aarne Talvitie (two), Max Sauvé, Bobby Hampton, Brandon Biro, Nikita Pavlychev

What They Said: “Probably Peyton. Peyton stretches for hours every day. He’s always working on hand-eye.” -Evan Barratt

“Jones, probably. A lot of time stretching.” -Alex Limoges

“Aarne takes really good care of his body. He was on the bike when I just walked by.” -Cole Hults

“Bobby Hampton. He’s training hard every day, so he spends a lot of time in the weight room.” -Connor MacEachern

“I’d say Pav [Nikita Pavlychev], but he doesn’t do anything extra. He just takes forever to work out. Put an asterisk next to that one.” -Brandon Biro

“Nate spends a good amount of time in there.” -Liam Folkes

“I’d probably say me.” -Nate Sucese, with a way-too-proud smile on his face

Analysis: First of all, it was really nice to see Northeastern transfer Bobby Hampton get a shoutout from Connor MacEachern here. The right-shot forward made his move to Hockey Valley in the summer, but he isn’t eligible to play for Penn State this season because of the NCAA’s transfer policies. He’ll have to wait until the fall to lace them up at Pegula Ice Arena.

Aside from Hampton, the winner of this category was decided by another tiebreaker. Nate Sucese’s self-vote effectively knocked him out of the running in favor of Peyton Jones. In the least shocking turn of events, we found out that a player whose position requires ungodly flexibility likes to stretch. Wow.

As far as the other vote-getters are concerned, I was surprised Aarne Talvitie didn’t win here. Talvitie isn’t the biggest player on the team in terms of sheer numbers (5’10” 198 pounds), but he plays with the physicality of a much bigger player.

If we really want to definitively settle who wins this category between Jones and Sucese, all it takes is two words: Squat-off.

Who Would You Not Want To Be Stuck In An Elevator With?

The Winner: Connor MacEachern (six votes)
Also Receiving Votes: Peyton Jones (three), Nikita Pavlychev, Connor McMenamin, Liam Folkes

What They Said: “Connor MacEachern.” -Alex Limoges

“Oh, MacEachern. He’s my mentee, so I have to talk to him quite a bit. He’s so loud — very annoying at times.” -Liam Folkes

“Cechs [MacEachern]. He just, like, doesn’t know when to shut up. He’s always barking about something.” -Cole Hults

“Probably MacEachern. He wouldn’t stop talking, and it’d drive me nuts.” -Evan Barratt

“Peyton Jones, 100% percent. He hates elevators, so he already freaks out in them. If we were to be stuck in one, he’d be all over the place and probably make me freak out.” -Connor McMenamin

“I think Jonesy. He gets really scared in tight spots, and I know he hates the airplane.” -Connor MacEachern

“I could also see why people say Jones. He asks a million questions.” -Folkes

“Folkes — and Peyton Jones. You’re not even allowed to have more than five people in the elevator [with him]. He hates elevators.” -Nate Sucese

Analysis: Sorry Connor, but you won this one in a landslide — and a lot of the boys didn’t hesitate before saying your name. If Peyton Jones finds that funny, he should know that those who voted for him didn’t hesitate all that much, either.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]


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