Hockey always starts with skating. Many of the greatest stars in the game like Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Howie "The Stratford Streak" Morenz, Paul Coffey, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Gartner, Bobby Orr, Gilbert Perreault and Petr Bondra were renowned for their skating ability.
Top-end speed on skates doesn't assure NHL stardom or even success. Just ask Rico Fata or Bobby Sheehan or Murray Wilson. They were among the fastest skaters ever to lace up skates, but won't be seen on any All-Star teams or Hall of Fame ballots.
Still the ability to accelerate quickly is one of the most coveted skills in hockey. Here is a list of the 25 players who I think are the fastest on the playoff teams in 2011. I've accumulated this list from personal observation and some fastest skater times (once around the rink) from All-Star and team skills competitions.
The top of my list features the four players from the top of the survey the CBC ran on who the players in the NHL thought were the fastest skaters in the league. When in doubt, defer to the guys actually playing the game.