When West became better conference?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by begbeee, Oct 16, 2011.

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  1. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    I always hear talks about how there is a Eastern bias, how is West better and tougher. There is an idea that some of the eastern teams which just sneak into the playoffs would be terrible in the West..
    You all know these talks.

    So when was this idea born? Is it based on true or it is the myth? And if it is true, why and when was the difference borned?
     
  2. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    Honestly , I've been of the opinion that the west was the better conference as long as I've been watching hockey (mid 90s). Teams like Colorado, Dallas, and Detroit were powerhouses. The east had Jersey and Philly, but the latter couldn't get it done. Soon after the lockout, it became "the West is better," became a go to topic with the NHL's talking heads and has persisted; though I would argue that the conferences are pretty balanced, with the West having slightly more depth.
     
  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    1967 Expansion

    Since the 1967 expansion the east enjoys almost a 2 to 1 advantage in SC victories. Hart, Art Ross and Norris for the same time frame shows the east with a 5 - 12 win margin.

    You would have to choose a pretty narrow and selective window to demonstrate that the west was better.
     
  4. MadLuke

    MadLuke Registered User

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    For me it as started on the Colorado-Detroit-Dallas powerhouse time frame, a lot of time the "reel" stanley cup was the west conference final.
     
  5. matnor

    matnor Registered User

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    The attached graph shows the average points for the Eastern and Western conference teams during the regular season. Of course, some years the conferences didn't have the same amount of teams but I think the graph shows the relative strength reasonably well. As can be seen, since the 99/00 season the Western conference teams have every season, on average, collected more points than the Eastern conference teams.
     
  6. Rangers1135

    Rangers1135 Registered User

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    By tougher, do you mean by hitting and stuff like that? The East definitely has more tougher teams as in like rivalries. But the West is more tough to get into the playoffs.
     
  7. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I think from the mid 1990s onward the West was tougher. From 1995 to 2003 the only Eastern team to win was Jersey. That left Detroit, Colorado and Dallas as the powerhouses and perennial contenders.

    But lately I wouldn't say the West is any stronger now. Maybe deeper, a bit, but at the top level the East has Pittsburgh, Washington, Boston and once in a while Philly. The West has Detroit, Vancouver and San Jose with a team like Anaheim once in a while being dangerous. Pretty even.
     
  8. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    Which is precisely why I said "as long as I've been watching hockey (mid 90s)." My hockey experience is limited to that narrowly defined time frame.
     
  9. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

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    I don't understand the 5-12 win margin comment if you are talking from 1967 onward. There's been a lot more than 17 Art Ross and Hart trophies since then. If you are talking post expansion, Gretzky himself had 10 Art/9 Harts all won in the west.

    Not disputing your comments about cup victories, or even this really, just asking for clarification since I obviously don't understand the 5-12 comment in relation to... well... anything you mentioned actually.
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    5-12

    Total of 43 each of the Art Ross, Hart and Norris trophies awarded since expansion. Including the trophies Gretzky won, the east still leads by between 5 and 12 wins for each of the three throphies. Until Gretzky came along the west hardly won any of these three throphies.
     
  11. Kyle McMahon

    Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    That's exactly what I recall from memory as well. When I started watching in the mid-90's, I felt the East was generally a little stronger, and by about 2001 things had shifted the other direction.

    I remember the yearly dogfights between Edmonton, Phoenix, LA, Vancouver, and usually another team or two for the final two or three playoff positions during the 2000-2004 span. Great hockey down the stretch as you could move from 10th to 6th with a single win, or vice versa. It was basically playoff hockey from March 1st onward. I remember one year the Oilers went something like 12-3 over their final 15 games and it wasn't enough to overcome a gap that was never larger than two or three points.

    On one hand it made for awesome regular seasons, but if you were one of the teams left out in the cold at the end, it annoyed you knowing that you probably would have been 5th or 6th in the East those years. The 2002 Hurricanes, to pick on somebody, won their division and advanced to the final, and wouldn't have made the playoffs in the West.
     
  12. FissionFire

    FissionFire Registered User

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    I'd have to look it up to confirm it, but as I recall the majority of the expansion teams from 1967 onward went into the Western Conference, so it would seem to imply that the East should have won more trophies until those teams became established. The 1967-68 expansion alone put all 6 of the Original 6 teams in the East with the expansion teams all in the West. Is it really a surprise that the established teams were cleaning up on the trophies for awhile?

    To expand upon my previous point, here is where the expansion teams went:

    1967-68
    Los Angeles King - West
    Minnesota North Stars - West
    Oakland Seals - West
    Philadelphia Flyers - West
    Pittsburgh Penguins - West
    St. Louis Blues - West

    1970-71
    Buffalo Sabres - East
    Vancouver Canucks - East

    1972-73
    Atlanta Flames - West
    New York Islanders - East

    1974-75
    Kansas City Scouts - ???
    Washington Capitols - ???
    (Everything was reorganized so who can tell what is East/West anymore)

    1979-80
    Edmonton Oilers - ???
    Hartford Whalers - ???
    Quebec Nordiques - ???
    Winnipeg Jets - ???
    (Conferences are still a geographic cluster****)

    1981-82 the divisions were reorganized to finally resemble an East/West again

    1991-92
    San Jose Sharks - West

    1992-93
    Ottawa Senators - East
    Tampa Bay Lightning - West

    1993-94
    Florida Panthers - East
    Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - West

    1998-99
    Nashville Predators - West

    1999-00
    Atlanta Thrashers - East

    2000-01
    Columbus Blue Jackets - West
    Minnesota Wild - West

    So by my count you've had 13 of the expansion teams added to the West to only 6 to the East with 6 teams joining at a time you really can't define the Conferences by East/West. So I'd say the Eastern conference winning the majority of the trophies since the start of the expansion era would be expected when you consider the majority of their teams were establish compared to the West constantly losing established teams to the East and picking up expansion teams instead.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  13. FissionFire

    FissionFire Registered User

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    To expand upon my previous point, here is where the expansion teams went:

    1967-68
    Los Angeles King - West
    Minnesota North Stars - West
    Oakland Seals - West
    Philadelphia Flyers - West
    Pittsburgh Penguins - West
    St. Louis Blues - West

    1970-71
    Buffalo Sabres - East
    Vancouver Canucks - East

    1972-73
    Atlanta Flames - West
    New York Islanders - East

    1974-75
    Kansas City Scouts - ???
    Washington Capitols - ???
    (Everything was reorganized so who can tell what is East/West anymore)

    1979-80
    Edmonton Oilers - ???
    Hartford Whalers - ???
    Quebec Nordiques - ???
    Winnipeg Jets - ???
    (Conferences are still a geographic cluster****)

    1981-82 the divisions were reorganized to finally resemble an East/West again

    1991-92
    San Jose Sharks - West

    1992-93
    Ottawa Senators - East
    Tampa Bay Lightning - West

    1993-94
    Florida Panthers - East
    Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - West

    1998-99
    Nashville Predators - West

    1999-00
    Atlanta Thrashers - East

    2000-01
    Columbus Blue Jackets - West
    Minnesota Wild - West

    So by my count you've had 13 of the expansion teams added to the West to only 6 to the East with 6 teams joining at a time you really can't define the Conferences by East/West. So I'd say the Eastern conference winning the majority of the trophies since the start of the expansion era would be expected when you consider the majority of their teams were establish compared to the West constantly losing established teams to the East and picking up expansion teams instead.
     
  14. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

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    Ah, thank you for the clarification. I knew there must have been something I was missing, because your posts are usually quite clear. My bad.
     
  15. Hawkey Town 18

    Hawkey Town 18 Registered User

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    These comparisons only really apply to the very top teams and the very top players. It ignores depth, which should also be considered.

    I know the NHL has kept "vs. East" and "vs. West" records since the last lockout, and the West has had the better record in inter-conference games in every season since. This method considers all teams and gives them equal weight. Does anyone know of a source that has this kind of data pre-lockout?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  16. I Hate Chris Butler

    I Hate Chris Butler Backlund Fan Club

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    People have been saying it since the West started winning most of the East vs. West match ups. The Flames had a 10-1-1 record against the East a couple of years back IIRC. Also, more started believing the West was better when the 8th, 9th, and 10th ranked Western teams had more points than the 5th-8th place East teams.
     
  17. PearJuice*

    PearJuice* Guest

    Lol. Thanks for the comic relief!!

    "Narrow" window? Lol. The last 30 years is not an insignificant amount of time. If you go back before the early 80's, the western based teams were all expansion teams, and thus can be expected to be weaker than the established original 6.

    The inidivial awards argument is also flawed. Not only does the PHWA have potential geographical biases built in (there are more votes in major media markets like Toronto and New York than in smaller markets like Edmonton), but they also have the issue of writers who are no longer covering hockey casting ballots for these awards. There is clearly an eastern bias at work - many eastern journalists are snoring in their pajamas by the time the western games start.

    I would say that now is one of the few times in the past 30 years where the east is as strong as the west. The east has more elite teams currently, but the west has more parity.
     
  18. Master_Of_Districts

    Master_Of_Districts Registered User

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    That's interesting.

    Because the East/Wales had a substantially better record in interconference games from 1981-1999.
     
  19. Seanconn*

    Seanconn* Guest

    this. plus the East has seemed to have a lot of perpetual basement dwellers the past 3-4 seasons, if not longer.

    West just seems to be a lot more balanced than the East...
     
  20. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    So most of you agree that West is better conference?
     
  21. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    Better isn't the word I'd use. The top end teams are about even in the two conferences, but the west is a bit deeper. I.e. the west has a couple more teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs. One could certainly interpret that to say the west is better, but I'm of the opinion that "better" isn't the proper term.
     
  22. Hawkey Town 18

    Hawkey Town 18 Registered User

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    Equal at the top, but one is deeper...If that's not better then what is it?
     
  23. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    It's largely a semantics argument on my part. Depth doesn't necesarily mean better. Both conferences have about the same likelihood of taking home the cup, its just that the tweener teams are slightly better in the west. Because of that, I would say that neither conference is notably better, the west just has slightly better "bad" teams.
     
  24. Al Bundy*

    Al Bundy* Guest

    I feel it began when Colorado/Detroit/Dallas went on their run of Cups from 1996-2002.

    The East won 5 straight Cups after the Oilers dynasty from 1991-1995.
     
  25. Hawkey Town 18

    Hawkey Town 18 Registered User

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    Ok, I was thinking that we should consider all teams in each conference, not just the good ones
     

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