East vs West

I was checking out the standings in the East last night after yet another Maple Leafs win and was once again amazed at how much weaker the Eastern Conference is than the West. Half of the teams in the East have a losing record in their last 10 games; the Blue Jackets are the only team in the West. 

While I do watch a lot of Leafs hockey and will cheer for them, they are not my team. But if they were….I would be so happy that they moved out of the Western Conference. Sixth to twelfth in the East looks like this; Atlanta, Ottawa, Montreal, Florida, Philly, NYR and Tampa. The only team I would not want to play out of that group would be the Flyers, and even they have a glaring flaw in net. In the West those spots look like this; Nashville, Phoenix, Detroit, Dallas, Vancouver, Edmonton, Columbus.

If looking at this year’s teams and standings doesn’t convince you, here is the Western Conference’s record against the East since the lockout:

05-06: 79-52-19

06-07: 78-45-20

07-08: 83-53-14

08-09: 139-103-26

09-10: 72-37-15

TOTAL: 451-290-94

That is a pretty large margin of victory. Now, you can debate whether this is good or bad for the supposed parity in the NHL. I would say that the parity is really only in each Conference, not in the entire NHL. The record above proves that the West is, and has been superior in the regular season since the lockout. While the Cups are two a piece; Anaheim and Detroit vs Carolina and Pittsburgh, you have to wonder what more playing against better teams all season long does to your chances of winning in the playoffs. Generally, a better team means a harder working, faster, more skilled team. So that brings the question of what is more valuable; parity in the regular season or in the playoffs?

Right now, there is definitely parity within the Conferences, although parity of a weaker variety exists in the East. But does the fact that the West is much stronger than the East put them at a disadvantage come playoff time? More importantly, Stanley Cup time? Although this is pretty impossible to answer for sure, you would have to think it has SOME effect on the Western teams. Add to that the fact that they also have a way heavier travel schedule, and it is a recipe for disaster for the Western teams. Below is a map of where all of the NHL teams are located in North America. The majority of Eastern Conference teams are all located in one little area of the continent, mostly in the same time zone. I don’t need to tell you that the Western teams have a tougher travelling schedule.

I do actually have a plan to tell you my solution to this issue; it is in a blog that I wrote for the Cord Weekly probably about a year ago. I just need to find that blog. It is funny how this started out with the simple fact of me saying the West is way better than the East; now I am talking about what is fair in the game and league restructuring.


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