The Bruins' largest player, the 6-foot, 9-inch defenseman Zdeno Chara, is a condor on skates – once you enter the offensive zone, you are within his reach. The Bruins' smallest player, Brad Marchand, is known as the Little Ball of Hate. Affectionately, of course.
The Blackhawks, however, are known as something else entirely. They are one of hockey's glamour teams – they of the flowing mullet of Patrick Kane, who treats the entire game like an audition for the shootout competition, and Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa, and ... the list goes on.
Don't believe it.
Sure, the Blackhawks can score goals. Bunches of them, in fact. They finished the regular season with 155, second only to the Pittsburgh Penguins and 24 more than the Bruins.
But that is not who they are.
Like the Bruins – and last year's Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings – they are built from the back forward. That means they have a deep corps of defenseman who are more than speed bumps in shoulder pads. They can skate, they can pass, and, yes, they can even score.
At a time in hockey history when just getting the puck out of your own zone has become a feat worthy of fireworks and a marching band, mobile defensemen who can move the puck have become the second box that any serious Stanley Cup contender must check off (after having a top goaltender). In Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, the Blackhawks have two of the best in the game.