Every NHL fan knows that the Western Conference is a hockey powerhouse and more often than not, these teams show greater playoff potential. Year after year, the West shows its dominance, and last season they finished with a record of 246-150-52 over the East.
Western teams have talent that run deep in their lineups, unlike those that consist of a few elite players that contrast immensely from their teammates. There is often a talent gap in many organizations in the East. They also do a good job making their defensive game physical and dynamic, while their offense is fast paced with a strong forecheck. Mistakes often result in the puck being in the back of the net. Players become accustomed to this distinct style of play and when it is time to compete with a team from the Eastern Conference, they have a leg up on them. It is true that some of the best offensive players are located in the East, but these players do not typically play in both ends of the ice.
“It makes a huge difference when guys are committed to playing defensive and they realize how important it is to be a both ways player.”
A number of quality players including James Neal and Jason Spezza have moved to teams that reside in the West, which proves that these organizations are continuing to get better. The Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild look like they are becoming top tier teams. San Jose is currently rebuilding, but they are still a major threat.
You get better by playing better teams, and that is a major reason why the West dominates. It appears the status quo will be maintained this season with the Pacific and Central Divisions continuing to be superior to the Atlantic and the Metropolitan Divisions.