So, it turns out there is something the Leafs lead the NHL in: Hitting.
So say the numbers crunchers at Hockey Analysis, anyway, in a posting Friday that
I was too lazy to put up is still worth looking at today, in the wake of the Leafs' on-again, off-again weekend (for more on that, and a meditation on excuses and alibis, head over to sister blog the Hockey Page).
David Johnson of Hockey Analysis has tallied up the league stats on "hits" and here's what the numbers say:
Toronto is the most physical team averaging 24.4 hits per game and surprisingly Montreal is the next most physical team with 21.5 hits per game. Toronto is a big team so that makes sense, but Montreal is a smaller team so it is surprising to see them average so many hits per game.
The least physical teams are the Tampa Bay Lightning with just 8.4 hits per game and the New York Rangers with just 10.7 hits per game.
Anyone who recalls the Leafs games with Montreal this season knows the Habs are a pretty good forechecking team -- and Komisarek can lay on the body. Now I have an idea what might be part of the Lightning's problems, apart from (or perhaps symptomatic of) the usual "Stanley Cup hangover" excuse. (Thanks to Off Wing Opinion and Tom Benjamin for the heads-up here).
(One more Hockey Analysis note: David's got a newer chart, that tries to put together an "entertainment index" for NHL teams and games. Pretty subjective, this one -- there's no positive value given to shots on goal, or a negative, say, for excessive penalties and Coach's Corner. Still, it's good work, and let's hope there's updates through the season.)