Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stanley Cup Final - Tale of the Tape

With the 2013 Stanley Cup Final starting Wednesday, there's going to be a lot of articles detailing the finer aspects of the matchup.  This is not one of those posts.

Here's my inaugural tale of the tape looking at the stats that don't seem like they matter, but they really do:

Using NHL.com's roster pages for Boston and Chicago, I've calculated the average height of the two teams.  The Big Bad Bruins, led by the biggest Bruins trails the Blackhawks 73.41-73.06 inches.

You could say, that averaged over approximately 30 athletes this difference is statistically insignificant.  Indeed, you could say that, but you're wrong.  There's .35" average separating the two, which can mean the difference between a goal and inconclusive if you're a puck on the goal line.  Or a quarter of Brad Marchand's nose.

Advantage: Chicago

Same drill with weight.  Once again the Bruins are at a disadvantage (204.41 - 203.22), once again proving that New England clam chowder and Boston Cream donuts aren't as effective as Deep Dish Pizza for packing on the pounds.

Advantage: Chicago

Age is an interesting one, since players tend to peak at around 25 per Arctic Ice Hockey. Chicago is once again ahead, as they are the younger team to the relative gray beards of Boston (27.7037 to 28.4375).  If you remove Marc Savard (listed on the roster on IR) and Jaromir Jagr, Boston's average age drops to 27.8, showing the some cracks in my infallible logic.

Advantage: Chicago

Cap Circumventing Contracts
Looking capgeek.com and searching for back diving contracts, there appears to be one per team.  Marian Hossa's deal that ends around the time the Earth is swallowed by the sun (or 2021, whichever comes first) and Zdeno Chara's, which drops almost $3M in 2017-2018.

Advantage: Boston

Individual Awards
In looking at the past 10 years, Bruins players have won 6 individual awards (Thomas with 2 Vezinas, Chara with a Norris, Raycroft with a Calder, Bergeron with a Selke, and Phil Kessel with the Masterton) compared to 3 for the Blackhawks (Duncan Keith with the Norris, Patrick Kane with a Calder, and Bryan Berard with a Masterton).  Two of these award winners were swapped for players in lopsided trades that netted the Bruins Tuuka Rask, Tyler Seguin, and Dougie Hamilton.

Advantage: Boston

So looking at these five categories, it should be obvious that this series favors Chicago in a close series.  I hate to disappoint you Boston fans, but I'm afraid the data doesn't lie.

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