Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eastern Conference: Parity, Mediocrity or Both?

1) The fight in the Eastern Conference for ALL playoff spots and positions appears to still be up for grabs with a mere 2-3 games remaining. This in of itself is not huge news. What is different this season is that there is no clear cut favourite. At the time of this writing there was a mere 9 points separating the top dog Penguins from the 8th seed Flyers.

2) Comparing that with last season where Buffalo finished with 113, 21 points ahead of the 8th seeded Islanders. The first season of the post Bettman lock out Ottawa paced the East with 113, again 21 points from the 8th seed, this time the Lightning. You have to go back to 2001-2002 to the closest disbursement between top and bottom, then 14 points from top to bottom. Never has there been a time when less than 10 points separated the top seed from the bottom.

3) So why is this? Is this the result of great competition, or is it simple mediocrity on display? Well, its probably both. The top 10-12 Eastern teams talent-wise are more closely matched than in recent memory. There is no one team in the East that one can point to and say; "They have it all", or "that is a team that can win the Cup". Compare that with the West where at least 3 teams (Detroit, SJ, and Anaheim) all are legit Cup threats, while every East team, even the top ones, have serious question marks.

4) The good news for the East is that regardless of how unimpressive their conference is they are still guaranteed a chance to play for the Cup, while the 3 listed teams from the West will have to fight bitterly among each other to get a shot. Perhaps wearing themselves down to give the Eastern team a legitamite chance to win it all


The Good Staal said...

I can't aree with what your saying here. The East is just fine. Sure we aint as flashy as those guys out there but we have just as many good teams as they do. I bet ya we win the cup this year. Anyone can, but i like my teams chances. We have good scorers and Ward is playing like he did when we won it all

The Dark Ranger said...

I think one of the points not mentioned is the fact that many teams - including my dear Blueshirts - are the beneficiaries of the one-point OT rule. Contrary to the Rangers rankings, teams should be rewarded for wins & losses ONLY OR mix-match the way points are spread to reward the win (i.e. 3 pts for the win, 1 for OT, 0 for loss).

The extra point is stalling the Eastern Conference teams in the last two minutes of every tied game --- defensive posture only and look for the turnovers.

..and Faux..easy on the Eastern conf.cheap shots...you don't want any East Coast "I told you so's..." coming from Hawk! ;)



1) Wasn't trying to take a swipe at the East so much as making a point that the East lacks an Elite team or two this season
2) If ANY of the playoff teams made it to the Finals we don't believe anyone would be shocked, while it would be a shock to see an 8th seed in the West(Nashville/Vancouver) go to the Finals

Shmee said...

As a Caps fan and a hockey fan in general, I am really enjoying how close everything is. It makes for great hockey.


1) Hey Shmee: Your team is as good as any in the East! Read yesterday that the Caps since Thanksgiving(When Hanlon got the boot) are on a 107 point pace. That would be TOPS in the entire Eastern Conference!

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