ST. PAUL, MN The Bruins have longed to forge an identity as a tough team to play against and their success in that department is undeniable.
The Bs have a Stanley Cup championship built on the back of that rough reputation, and now it appears the team holds the overwhelming respect of their opponents around the NHL.
The NHLPA and CBCs Hockey Night in Canada released a joint poll of over 250 NHL players on a wide range of questions about the leagues best players. And there were Bruins at the top of the list in a bevy of categories.
Bruins power forward Milan Lucic was voted the toughest player in the NHL with fellow teammates Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton voted in by their peers as No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in that category.
Lucic took 20 percent of the vote from the NHL player voting.
For Lucic it was an honor and a testament to how good hes become as a reliable goal scorer, a feared fighter, and a player that can intimidate with his bone-rattling body checks.
Its good, obviously. Its good to hear that youre recognized by your peers with something like that, Lucic said. Its an honor to be recognized around the league as being a tough player. I take a lot of pride in being tough and Ive just got to keep it up.
Its not just me. I think our whole team does a great job with that. Playing with Chara and Thornton and normally having Nathan Horton on my line really helps in the toughness element.
Lucic also joked he might have a target on his back in practice with Chara and Thornton coming after him to prove who is toughest.
Patrice Bergeron was voted the most underrated player in the NHL with nine percent of the vote, and Chara was voted as holding the hardest shot and being the toughest defenseman to play against in the poll.
Interestingly enough 24 percent of the NHL players polled also voted the Vancouver Canucks as the most overrated team in the NHL further cementing their reputation as one of the most disliked teams in the league.