Western Conference teams continue to dominate the East

A few decades ago, Jim Morrison – late lead singer of the Doors and a man one can almost guarantee knew nothing about hockey – once rambled “The west is the best … the west is the best” with what was probably a daunting amount of unmentionable substances coursing through his body.

It’s hard to argue with the leader of that classic psychedelic rock band, whether it comes to general shifts in U.S. population or the disparity between the Western and Eastern conferences in the NHL.

The West’s stark superiority over the East has been a trend that held strong for the past six seasons according to John Kreiser of NHL.com. Kreiser writes that West teams hold a 57-31-12 record during inter-conference games this season, earning a 57 percent winning rate against East teams. He points out that that the West generated a winning record against the East in every season since the first post-lockout campaign.

So, the big picture numbers definitely solidify the widely held (especially in the West) feeling that there is a clear difference between the two conferences. Kreiser points out that three Western teams really drive the point home, though.

Much of the damage by the West has been done by three teams. St. Louis won its first seven games against the East before losing to Washington on Wednesday; still, the Blues’ 7-1-0 mark is the best by any team against the other conference. Dallas is 8-2-0 against the East after beating the Caps on Thursday, the most wins by any team against the other conference, and Los Angeles, which went a League-best 14-4-0 against the East last season, is 7-3-0 this season after beating Florida on Thursday.

Interestingly enough, Kreiser points out that the only West team without a win against the East is the elite team in the conference: the Detroit Red Wings. In fact, they’re the only team that doesn’t own a win against the other conference, period. Of course, they only played one game against an East team so far (a 5-1 loss to Atlanta), which indicates that the pro-West numbers will become even more profound as the season goes on.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.