The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.
Today’s question: Is the East just as good as the West now?
For years the Western Conference has looked down its nose at the East. However, the balance of power may have finally shifted. At the very least, there’s reason to believe the NHL’s two conferences are on par with each other.
Heading into Monday’s action, the top eight teams in the East are 29-12-10 against the West while the top eight teams in the West are 23-11-7 against the East.
All told, there are seven teams in the East with a winning record against the West and seven teams in the West with a winning record against the East.
Personally, if I had to pick 10 teams with the best chance to win the Stanley Cup, I’d go with Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, NY Rangers, Buffalo, Chicago, San Jose, Detroit and Vancouver. That’s six teams from the East, four from the West.
You might have a different list, but it absolutely has to include at least three teams from the East – Pittsburgh, Boston and Philadelphia.
It’s not just the top clubs that define a conference either. Another thing that’s made the West so tough in recent years has been the relative strength of the conference’s lower echelon. However, based on today’s standings, four of the NHL’s worst six teams are from the West – Colorado, Calgary, Anaheim and Columbus.
In conclusion, the days of “well, we’d have made the playoffs if we were in the East” seem to be over. Agree? Disagree?