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NHL players split on Chiefs, 49ers winning Super Bowl

Expect close NFL championship game in Miami

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ryan O'Reilly and Jordan Binnington have made it clear who they think will win Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

O'Reilly, a center for the St. Louis Blues, wore a Chiefs helmet during warmups for the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills in St. Louis on Jan. 25. Blues goalie Binnington arrived at the event wearing the jersey of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

"Figured I'd throw it on and give some support," O'Reilly said. "That's who I'd take."

O'Reilly and Binnington are certainly biased when it comes to the Chiefs, who play on the other side of Missouri, but other NHL players interviewed by NHL.com were split on the winner of the big game in Miami.

"I think Kansas City is going to win," Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "I like Mahomes. I like the way he plays. He's unbelievable and fun to watch."

Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said he also thought Mahomes, the NFL MVP last season, will be the difference in the game, but he's hoping to see more scoring than in the Super Bowl last year, when the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. 

"I think it's hard to go against Mahomes," Oshie said. "He just seems like a guy that doesn't really shy away from pressure. So many weapons, but I don't know. You've got a good defense on the other side.

"I just hope it's not a 10-3 game. I hope we get a decent scoring game with it coming down to the final possession."

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin is from Boston, so he is rooting for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who once played for his favorite team, the Patriots. But he expects a tight battle. 

"It's a good matchup," Hanifin said. "I want [San Francisco] just because Garoppolo used to be on the Patriots, so I'm hoping he can get a Super Bowl, which would be good to see. I think it's going to be a coin toss, you know? Kansas City has a really good offense and [San Francisco] has a really good defense, so it's going to be a good matchup.

"[The Chiefs] just have a crazy offense. Mahomes is such an unbelievable athlete and a great talent. Last year, I saw them play against the Patriots in the AFC [Championship Game]. He's a great player. They're dangerous. If you're up on them, they can still score touchdowns like nobody else in the league. It'll be a good challenge for [San Francisco's] defense."

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal said he also believes the 49ers will win, but he is a Mahomes fan.

"Something about the 49ers, I like the way they played all year," Staal said. "I had Mahomes as my fantasy quarterback, so I've loved his game pretty much all year too. It's a bit of a tossup but I'll lead with the 49ers."

Like O'Reilly and Binnington, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon has a local interest in the game with the 49ers playing their home games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, 7 miles from San Jose.  

"I have to go with the home-area 49ers," Dillon said. "I think it's going to be a really good game, which for any sporting event is what I think you want. Both teams have been outstanding. 

"Watching the 49ers team defense all year -- [defensive end Nick] Bosa has been unbelievable -- and in big games your all-stars have to be your best players. So [tight end George] Kittle and Garoppolo, those kind of guys are going to have to lead the way.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene and Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck expect a close game. 

"San Francisco has a good [defense], and Mahomes and K.C. are pretty lethal, but I'll go K.C," Greene said. "Give it to Mahomes, just a hunch." 

Hellebuyck said, "Oh, man. It's going to be a great matchup. It could be Mahomes' year, but I think [San Francisco's] got a full team and will be one force to reckon with. So I'm going to go 49ers."

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