Are the Boston Bruins Really Bigger and Tougher Than the Vancouver Canucks?
VANCOUVER - The commonly held belief about the Vancouver Canucks going into the 2011 playoffs was that they were a small, skilled team. In other words, a team unsuited for the rigors of physical playoff hockey.
Conversely, the Boston Bruins were lauded for a return to the "big, bad Bruins" style of years past.
Led by power forwards Milan Lucic (6'4" 200 pounds) and Nathan Horton (6'2" 229 pounds), and towering defenceman Zdeno Chara (6'9" 255 pounds), the Bruins were supposed to batter opposing teams into submission.
But perception and reality are can be drastically different.
The Vancouver Canucks are bigger and badder than the Bruins, as hard as that might be for the Boston faithful to believe.
The Canucks are the bigger team. Yes, Chara is a giant. But with an average height of 6'0" and average weight of 200 pound, the Bruins are hardly all cast in the same mold as Chara.
Conversely, the Canucks average height is 6'1" and average weight is 201 pounds.
There are eight Bruins under 6' in height, versus only three Canucks under that bar.
So the Bruins are the smaller team, at least by a small margin.
In terms of physicality, the Canucks are also head and shoulders ahead of the Bruins.
Through 18 games each, the Canucks have thrown 151 hits more hits than the Bruins, 596 to 445. The Canucks are throwing 34% more hits than the Bruins.
In terms of individual players, the top ten players for playoffs hits includes five Canucks, two San Jose Sharks, two members of the Lightning, and only a single Bruin.
Maxim Lapierre (63), Kevin Bieksa (62), Ryan Kesler (56), Alex Edler (55) and Chris Higgins (48) all have recorded more hits than Milan Lucic (43), the leading hitter for the Bruins.
In short, anyone claiming that the Bruins are the bigger or tougher team needs to take a hard look at the statistics, because it clearly isn't the case.
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