Derek Lalonde, Peter DeBoer and more reveal their favorite players.
Scott Taetsch/CSM/Zuma  

Derek Lalonde, Peter DeBoer and more reveal their favorite players.

Several NHL head coaches reveal who they truly loved coaching the most in the National Hockey League.

Jonathan Larivee

We often wonder about favoritism in the National Hockey League and although we all have our suspicions, no one truly knows whether or not they are right. When I speak of favoritism I'm not referring to anything malicious but rather simply a preference on the part of one National Hockey League head coach or another, preferences that differ wildly from coach to coach.

Very rarely though will you hear a coach open and go on the record about his favorite players, but we were treated to one of those rare occasions this week when several NHL head coaches faced the question head on. Those coaches included Derek Lalonde, currently head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, D.J. Smith, currently head coach of the Ottawa Senators, and Peter DeBoer, currently head coach of the Dallas Stars.

In the case of Derek Lalonde there was no doubt about his favorite player to coach, as he gushed over Anthony Cirelli of the Tampa Bay Lightning, his former team.

"The guys knew I was an [Anthony] Cirelli guy, and they would actually bust my chops," admitted Lalonde with a huge smile. "He was my boy, but the way he played.... there was something special with Tony Cirelli."

D.J. Smith didn't pick an NHL player at all, going instead with a member of the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires.

"I'm gonna go with Harry Young, captain of the Windsor Spitfires," revealed Smith.

DeBoer had a bit of a hard time choosing just one player, and you'll quickly understand why given his response.

"I've had the fortune of coaching Joe Thornton, first ballot Hall of Famer," said DeBoer.

"I also got to coach Jaromir Jagr when he was 40 years old in New Jersey which was a great gift for me at that time," added DeBoer.

"And I have to put Joe Pavelski there to, he was my captain in San Jose and he is with me in Dallas, so three great names there," said DeBoer in conclusion.

For their full answers you can check out the short video below.