Inside the Western Conference Standings – October 24

Every now and then, we’ll take a look at each conference’s standings to see if there are any trends or quirks that explain why some teams are failing and others are overachieving. Obviously, these results will reveal bigger truths once we advance later into this season … but it’s still fun and interesting to take a peek at bigger picture numbers.

Note: All standings stats are based on figures taken BEFORE tonight’s games.

Earlier tonight, we took a look at some of the Eastern Conference quirks and totals. Now let’s go out West.

Most games played: 10 – Chicago.

Least games played: 6 – Phoenix, Edmonton, San Jose (although the Sharks will play their seventh game against Calgary tonight).

Strongest teams at home

The West isn’t as weird as the East, although it does have an odd mix of teams who are either really strong at home but weak on the road or vice versa. The Detroit Red Wings are looking like the Red Wings of old – at least early – though, with a league-best 5-1-1 record. Nashville isn’t far behind, though, as they’re 2-0-3 at home and are on the verge of going 3-0 on the road.

Here are the teams who depend heavily on home cooking.

  • St. Louis (4-0-0 at home; 1-2-0 on the road)
  • Vancouver (3-0-0 at home; 0-3-1 on the road)
  • Anaheim (2-0-1 at home; 1-5-0 on the road)

Road warriors

Conversely, here are the teams who might want to consider staying at a hotel rather than the comfort of their own homes if these trends continue.

  • Columbus (1-3-0 at home; 3-0-0 on the road)
  • San Jose (0-2-1 at home; 3-0-0 on the road)

Leaking oil

After a promising 2-0 start, the Edmonton Oilers are plummeting back to earth. They’re on the worst losing streak in the NHL right now (four games), allowing four goals or more in each defeat. Overall, the Oilers have been outscored 19-8 in those losses.


As I said in the Eastern Conference piece, it’s far too early to draw too many conclusions from these trends. Still, it’s interesting to see which teams are getting valuable road wins and which ones are letting crucial home points slip away.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, in particular, will need to play better at home to avoid  record low turnouts this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.