How often have you heard some hockey pundit say this "blahblahblah...in the ultra-tight Western Conference..."? Or 'super competitive' or something like that. Just, in some way imply that the Western Conference is more competitive or tighter from top to bottom than the East. Often, right?
Well, I'm here to bust that myth right now.
Look at last season.
In the East the difference between 1st (WAS 107 pts) and 9th (CAR 91) was 16 points. In the West, the difference betwen 1st (VAN 117 pts) and 9th (DAL 95 pts) was 22 points.
And the discrepancy between top and bottom in the East was tighter than it was in the West.
Again, in the East Washington won the conference with 107 points. The bottom of the conference looked like this:
9. CAR 91
10. TOR 85
11. NJ 81
12. ATL 80
13. OTT 74
14. NYI 73
15. FLA 72
In the West Vancouver won the conference with 117 points. The bottom of the conference looked like this:
9. DAL 95
10. CGY 94
11. STL 87
12. MIN 86
13. CBJ 81
14. COL 68
15. EDM 62
However, the differential between the top eight teams in the West was tighter than it was in the East.
In the East the difference between 1st and 2nd overall was 3 pts. From 2nd to 3rd overall 3 pts. Then 4 pts, 4 pts, 11 pts, 11 pts and 14 pts.
In the West the difference between 1st and 2nd overall was 12 pts. From 2nd to third overall 1 pt. Then 5 pts, 0 pts, 0 pts, 0 pts, 1 pt, 1 pt.
And, looking at the overall league standings 8 of the top 15 teams in the league were in the West. So that's split, with a slight skew towards the West being more competitive.
So, I guess the point is: it's not like the West is significantly tighter or more competitive than the East. They're pretty even. There are good teams in both conferences and there are bad teams in both conferences.
Maybe we can cool it on the spicy rhetoric a bit, hmm?