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Thread: Western Conference Thoughts

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    Default Western Conference Thoughts

    Stating the obvious, I know, but holy crap the Western Conference is strong this year. I know for a while Chicago was running away with it, but they've slowed down lately and now the Western Conference is really tightening up.

    Anaheim is having a phenomenal season, Minnesota is on fire of late, Vancouver and Detroit cannot be underestimated, I wouldn't want to face Hitchcock's Blues and their strong defense in the playoffs, and LA is picking up steam (and are the defending champions, after all).

    San Jose's hold on the 8th spot is tenuous and I see them missing the playoffs to the upstart Blue Jackets or determined Predators, two teams that will work their butts off and could easily upset a top seed.

    This is only good news for the Penguins as they solidify their roster and really only have to worry about Boston in the East, while the West beats each other up during what is looking like a long, hard playoff battle.

    I know the playoffs are a ways off still, but I'm really getting excited!
    12 team, H2H
    F: N. Backstrom, J. Benn, N. Kucherov, B. Wheeler, M. Stone, TBD
    D: J. Klingberg, S. Gostisbehere, S. Weber, D. Severson
    G: D. Dubnyk, R. Luongo
    Minors: M. Marner, S. Tolchinsky, R. Pulock, V. Abramov, C. Hellebucyk

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    Since the Western Conference ONLY plays the Western Conference... and...
    Since the Eastern Conference ONLY plays the Eastern Conference...

    um, well... my opinion is that it is very hard to judge.


    Personally, I think the West is WEAK... if I had to guess.
    Anaheim should not, by any means, be a powerful team.
    Would they really have this many points if they were playing against BOS, PIT, NYR, MON?
    I don't think so.

    Detroit, even without Lidstrom, is still top 5 in the West.

    Minnesota, even with only one really decent line... they seemed to struggle through the first half of the season - is magically 3rd?

    And Columbus? Columbus is doing OK?

    Is the West really strong?
    Or is it actually so weak that the "average" teams are really excelling against the pansies in the conference.


    I love ya SeaDawg... but I think you missed the mark on this one.
    I guess we really won't know until next season when every team in the East plays every team in the West twice... then... then we'll know.

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    what you are saying makes sense, Pengwin, but everytime I watch Anaheim, Minny, Chicago, Detroit, LA (of late), and even Columbus, I am damn impressed.

    In the East, I get that same feeling from Pittsburgh and Boston, and to a lesser extent Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal (though the latter three teams don't really "scare" me if I had to face them in the playoffs). Most of the other Eastern Conference teams, I think, are a bit of a mess right now. Rangers, Devils, Winnipeg, Carolina? I don't even know which teams are going to be in the playoffs, but I'm not worried about any of them.
    12 team, H2H
    F: N. Backstrom, J. Benn, N. Kucherov, B. Wheeler, M. Stone, TBD
    D: J. Klingberg, S. Gostisbehere, S. Weber, D. Severson
    G: D. Dubnyk, R. Luongo
    Minors: M. Marner, S. Tolchinsky, R. Pulock, V. Abramov, C. Hellebucyk

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    I for one, agree with you Dawg.

    I definitely believe the West is stronger... always has been. The fact that the #8th seed in the West won the Cup last year speaks volumes about the depth in that conference.

    The East is a 2 team conference, the rest of it is a joke.... who else can possibly emerge other than the Pens/Bruins? Nobody. Who can potentially emerge from the West? Anybody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    The East is a 2 team conference, the rest of it is a joke.... who else can possibly emerge other than the Pens/Bruins? Nobody.
    I'll put this on my ever-growing list of brilliant things you've said this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pengwin7 View Post
    I'll put this on my ever-growing list of brilliant things you've said this year.
    Knock yourself out, you're the only person who keeps score around here anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    Knock yourself out, you're the only person who keeps score around here anyway.
    -says the guy running the guess-the-NHL-goal-scoring-leader contest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pengwin7 View Post
    -says the guy running the guess-the-NHL-goal-scoring-leader contest.
    Sorry for trying to bring a little interaction and fun to the community... not sure what I was thinking there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    Sorry for trying to bring a little interaction and fun to the community... not sure what I was thinking there.

    It's OK, I'm not sure what you are thinking most of the time.

    It is indeed a fun little game - how come you haven't bumped that thread to give us all an update in a while? Only when your guy is doing well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pengwin7 View Post
    It's OK, I'm not sure what you are thinking most of the time.

    It is indeed a fun little game - how come you haven't bumped that thread to give us all an update in a while? Only when your guy is doing well?
    I bumped it to keep people engaged... only someone calculating like you would think I'm bumping it to "pump my chest".

    I really pitty the deeply personal emotional investment you put into these forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    I bumped it to keep people engaged... only someone calculating like you would think I'm bumping it to "pump my chest".
    You bumped it last on Feb.18th.
    Solid job keeping everybody engaged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    I for one, agree with you Dawg.

    I definitely believe the West is stronger... always has been. The fact that the #8th seed in the West won the Cup last year speaks volumes about the depth in that conference.

    The East is a 2 team conference, the rest of it is a joke.... who else can possibly emerge other than the Pens/Bruins? Nobody. Who can potentially emerge from the West? Anybody.
    I agree with you. There aren't really any teams that scare me in the East if I'm a top Western Conference team. Pens and Bruins, and that's about it. Are Montreal for real? They were a last place team a year ago. Toronto? Ottawa? Not contenders IMO. The Southeast division as a whole?

    Anyway, as was already said, I don't think we can tell since there is no inter-Conference play, but that's my opinion.

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    @ Pengwin and Blayze...


    ...I can't tell if you guys are being sarcastic or if you are really upset with each other...if you are being sincere, please make up and kiss already! I can't stand to see two of my favorite posters mad at each other.

    I don't know what I missed in my (lockout) absence.
    12 team, H2H
    F: N. Backstrom, J. Benn, N. Kucherov, B. Wheeler, M. Stone, TBD
    D: J. Klingberg, S. Gostisbehere, S. Weber, D. Severson
    G: D. Dubnyk, R. Luongo
    Minors: M. Marner, S. Tolchinsky, R. Pulock, V. Abramov, C. Hellebucyk

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    It's near impossible to make any sort of quantitative judgements about the talent level in the West vs. the East in a season where the teams are:

    A) Only playing half a season (they've only played a third so far)
    B) Do not play cross-conference games

    Now there are some assumptions we can make based on old narratives but I think that is a bit illogical. These assumptions go as follows:

    Any team but Carolina that has won the Cup since 2006 is for real. This makes sense to us because we've seen these teams win it all and they have many of their star players in tact from those Cup wins and oh yeah most of them are among the leaders in their Conference this year. That's why it's easy to put Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago and Anaheim up on a pedestal.

    We've also seen the Red Wings be so good for so long that we give them the benefit of the doubt as a contender and as the defending champs we tend to give the Kings a lot of credit as well.

    So built on this narrative of former Cup winners we have four supposed contenders in the West and only two in the East.

    There are more reasons people question the East:

    For instance none of what any of the Canadian teams are doing looks legitimate by traditional narratives:

    -Montreal was the worst team in the East last year. Obviously the bottom needs to drop out.

    -Toronto always chokes. When are they going to get a goalie?

    -Ottawa is fielding an AHL team. When the playoffs come that will surely catch up with them.

    -Winnipeg plays in the Southeast, which is the worst division in hockey so they don't count.

    And I'm not saying these assumptions are necessarily wrong. If you are asking me to pick my top Cup contenders I'm always going to list Pittsburgh first. They've been my pick to win it all every year they first made it to the Final against Detroit with Crosby and Co. And until I see Crosby old and decrepit I will probably keep picking them.

    We've all got our biases and our beliefs about which teams are for real and which ones aren't. I just don't agree with stating anything in absolutes because we can't really know for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blayze View Post
    The East is a 2 team conference, the rest of it is a joke.... who else can possibly emerge other than the Pens/Bruins? Nobody. Who can potentially emerge from the West? Anybody.
    No one should be writing off the Rangers yet. There's a reason why they were one of the Cup favorites heading into the season. They will be dangerous opponent for anyone in the playoffs (they will make it in).
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