The Advantages of Being Tall in the NHL

The NHL isn’t known as a tall man’s game, but some of its players are making a compelling argument otherwise. Although players who are tall in the NHL don’t regularly show up on the score sheet, they do add those little things that can shape a game, like hits and blocked shots. Here are how some of the NHL’s tallest players take advantage of their physique playing against some guys almost half their size.

Zdeno Chara

Chara is not only the tallest player in the NHL at the current moment, but he is also the tallest NHL player of all time (so far). The 6’9” giant captains the Boston Bruins and even led the team to a 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. His leadership extends even further when he was award the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award for outstanding leadership.

If his administrative abilities weren’t enough to convince players to come play in Boston, the “shot heard ‘round the world” might have pushed some players over the edge. And by the “shot heard ‘round the world,” I am referring to Chara’s 108.8 MPH slap-shot during the 2012 All-Star Game. He really put his back (along with the rest of his 6’9” 250lb. body) and 65-inch-long hockey stick into the shot that set a new record that has yet to be broken today. That shot, that 108.8 MPH shot, is what any defenders playing against Boston have to try and block.

Not only does Chara’s big frame allow for a heavy slap-shot, but it is also great for just throwing around. He currently has 119 hits on the season. And when the equivalent of a mid-sized vehicle slams into you, you might back away any time you see him coming. Besides forcing contenders to not take a hit and mess up the play, his big frame is also useful for blocking shots. Chara has 113 blocked shots, which is 45th among defensemen in the league.

John Scott

John Scott may now stand in the hearts of hockey-loving fans around the world, but there is no way physically his 6’8” 260lb. body is fitting anywhere. Scott recently came into the spotlight during this year’s All-Star Game. The fans voted him captain of the Pacific Division even though he only played 11 games this season. The fans rallied to keep him captain of the Pacific Division after he was traded to the Montreal Canadians right before the All-Star break. The fans voted him All-Star MVP after a two-goal performance and team win in the game. Even though Scott hasn’t played since in a real NHL game, his impact on the games he did play and the little (or not so little) things he does to make him a fan favourite are noticeable.

Scott plays with a lot of passion and heart, which the fans appreciate. Not to mention he is also known for throwing a punch or two. Scott has only payed in 11 games this season but already managed to rack up 25 penalty minutes. This average of 2.27 PIM/G puts him at seventh most in the league again, I repeat, with only playing in 11 games. To add to that physical game, he also has 20 hits on the year as well. Not only has he managed to rack up these numbers but he managed to do it with very little ice time as well. His total TOI is just shy of 70 minutes, or about six and a half minutes per game. With that math, Scott sits in the penalty box half of the amount of time he is on the ice.

Although Scott’s snapshot doesn’t instil fear in every penalty killer in the league, he still manages to block some shots to help his goaltender out. He currently has only three on the season, but this still shows he is willing to pay the price to help his team win.

Tyler Myers

Although Tyler Myers isn’t a name that pops immediately into your head when you think of the Winnipeg Jets, the 6’8” 229lb. defenseman is one of the many cogs that make the team go round. The reliable defenseman plays a solid 20-25 minutes a night. During that time, he manages to show up on the score sheet, at least 27 times this season out of the 73 games played. But that is not where Myers makes his mark.

This year, Myers, just like Scott and Chara, gets his solid play from the little (or again, no so little) defensive plays derived by his sheer size. He is 81st among defensemen in the league with 95 blocked shots. And just because not everyone has a 108.8 MPH snapshot doesn’t mean there are any lightweight bombs coming from the blue line. In Winnipeg’s division alone, there is Shea Weber, who happened to take first place in the next All-Star Game’s hardest shot challenge with a 108.5 MPH shot. Sacrificing your body to stand in front of shots like that, no matter the size, is bound to hurt the next morning.

Myers also likes to work out some of that soreness with 54 hits on the season though he won’t take anything much farther than that. He only has two major penalties this season and an average of 1628:32 minutes between fights, which is once about every 27 games. Minor penalties, on the other hand, are a different story. Myers averages about one PIM/G which might not seem like a lot, but if you take into account Myers can’t be out on the ice blocking shots or using his long hockey stick to add to his 45 takeaways on the season, the penalty kill seems a bit more daunting.

Conclusion

The height of these men and players like them allow for teams to win. Although most of the things they do won’t show up on any highlight reels or the scoresheet, teams could not win without it. All of the blocked shots, the takeaways and the hits wear down opposing teams physically and mentally and the size of these men help out in these areas.

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