fallacy |ˈfaləsē|noun ( pl. -cies)a mistaken belief, esp. one based on unsound argument : the notion that the camera never lies is a fallacy.• Logic a failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.• faulty reasoning; misleading or unsound argument : the potential for fallacy which lies behind the notion of self-esteem.
After watching the umpteenth talking head tell me that the Bruins are the Big, Bad, and the more physical team in the Stanley Cup Final, I thought it best to see what the numbers say.
In the playoffs, the Canucks are the team with the most hits tallied at 596. The Bruins are 4th of all the Conference Final teams at 445. In the regular season ( because reputations have to come from somewhere right) ? Well, both teams were neither big nor bad, with the Canucks coming in at 20th at 1791, and the Bruins at 21st at 1736.
Just numbers right? I mean, Milan Lucic is big and mean, because everyone says so right? It must be true! Well, there is a three way tie in the regular season for Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, and the old warhorse Mark Recchi with 81 hits. Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell, and Nathan Horton ties at 80, and then Lucic at 79 hits.
In the playoffs, the big East Van native has stepped it up to be more physical, leading his team with 43 hits in 18 games, ahead of Chara at 40 and Seidenberg at 39 hits tallied in the postseason.
In comparison, the Vancouver Canucks? Well, in the regular season, check out all the guys that are above the biggest hitters on the Bruins. Jannik Hansen led the team with 149. He was followed by Raffi Torres at 134, Tanner Glass at 130, Ryan Kesler at 124,Andrew Alberts and Jeff Tambellini both at 113, Kevin Bieksa at 104, Keith Ballard at 99, Alexandre Burrows at 84, and Alexander Edler at 83, before getting to Aaron Rome at 78 hits for 11th! Look at that list. Some of those guys did not play anywhere close to the entire season. But when they do, they play physical, and finish their checks.
Whatever gets it done though right? The Bruins and Canucks were pretty close in the regular season, so you may say, "so what"? Well, look at the guys that lead the Vancouver team in the playoffs. Maxim Lapierre leads the team, and the playoffs, with 63 hits in 18 games. One ahead of Bieksa with 62, Kesler with 56, Edler with 55, Higgins at 48, and Dan Hamhuis at 41 hits. And you know that Raffi Torres would have more than the current 30 if he had played in those first two games against the Hawks.
So, lets not buy into that narrative too much, OK? Yes, Chara is 6'9" and 255, Lucic is a beast, and the Bruins can hit. But the Canucks have been the most physical team in the playoffs. Everyone finishes their checks in the playoffs, but the Canucks have finished more of them, and between the two teams, dominate the hit tally.
Now, if you really want a Canuck advantage, think about speed. An indicator of that is the takeaway stat. Here is the tally of that. Ryan Kesler leads the playoffs with 22 of those. Henrik Sedin has 16, Raymond and Daniel Sedin at 15, Burrows at 13, and 3 players tied at 11 in Higgins, Bieksa and Edler. Hansen comes in with 10. Then you get to the top guys for the Bruins, David Krejci and Michael Ryder with 9 each.
I am not saying that stats will determine how this series plays out. I know the Bruins have a bunch of guys that can finish their checks, and I am not underestimating their toughness at all. Its just when every damn talking head blows smoke up our asses about hitting as being an advantage for the Eastern Conference Champions, I think they are being lazy and not looking at the facts.
The facts say the Canucks are just as, and even more, physical than the Big Bad Bruins. Just a thought...