1) Despite the East (Pittsburgh) winning the Stanley up the consensus among NHL observers is that the Western Conference still is the stronger of the two National Hockey League Conferences. This also despite the East having the three top individual players in Pittsburgh's Evgeny Malkin, and Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin. As one scout told us, "The East has the names, while the West has the teams".
2) Might this still be the case? Last season the West had a decided edge over the East in head to head competition, despite the moaning of Western Conference based folks that their teams are at a disadvantage due to travel imbalance. We won't get into the travel debate since its all mute. The fact that 3/4 of the NHL lies to the East of the Mississippi can't/won't be changed so there will always as a result be an imbalance there. This didn't seem to bother Edmonton in the mid-late 80's, but we digress.
3) Thus far this season, in an admittedly minuscule sample size, the West is already out to an clear advantage over the East. Through games on Monday October 12th the West is an amazing 10-4-1 record versus the East. Will this trend continue and if so why? We'd have to say that we'd expect this trend will continue throughout the season, albeit at a slightly less than the current 71% winning clip the West currently enjoys. It seems that even the lower regarded teams out West are solidly built enough to give every team (even the powers in the East) trouble, as the Bruins found out when they played the Avalanche IN Boston the other day. Of course this really means diddly since only one West team can make it to the Finals anyway.