Western Conference Über Alles

The competitive conference!

The Western Conference is undeniably better than the Eastern Conference.

My initial reaction to the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, as some of you have already read, was:

Obviously we all know that the Western Conference is a much more difficult conference to play in. The competition is better, the travel is harder, and it houses California, the best state in the nation and the home of hockey. We know that the Western Conference is just better, but can we prove it? Let's take a look at all of the Stanley Cup champions since the 1993-94 season, when Eastern/Western first replaced Wales/Campbell (Eastern Conference in red, Western in blue):

Year Team Series
1994 New York Rangers 4–3
1995 New Jersey Devils 4–0
1996 Colorado Avalanche 4–0
1997 Detroit Red Wings 4–0
1998 Detroit Red Wings 4–0
1999 Dallas Stars 4–2
2000 New Jersey Devils 4–2
2001 Colorado Avalanche 4–3
2002 Detroit Red Wings 4–1
2003 New Jersey Devils 4–3
2004 Tampa Bay Lightning 4–3
2005
2006 Carolina Hurricanes 4–3
2007 Anaheim Ducks 4–1
2008 Detroit Red Wings 4–2
2009 Pittsburgh Penguins 4–3
2010 Chicago Blackhawks 4–2
2011 Boston Bruins 4–3
2012 Los Angeles Kings 4–2
2013 Chicago Blackhawks 4–2

Wow, that sure is a lot of blue. The Western Conference has produced a champion 11 times to the Eastern Conference's 8. In other words, the Western Conference proves what we already know to be true nearly 60% of the time.

You can break it down to pre or post 2004-05 lockout, and the Western comes out on top either way. No matter how the game evolves, the Western Conference teams adapt and outshine their weaker Eastern Conference counterparts.

Maybe it's just a fluke and the Western Conference teams have just gotten really lucky in the playoffs? Let's glance at the regular season results. For the same timeframe as above, here are the Presidents' Trophy winners for each season:

Year Team Pts
1994 New York Rangers 112
1995 Detroit Red Wings 70
1996 Detroit Red Wings 131
1997 Colorado Avalanche 107
1998 Dallas Stars 109
1999 Dallas Stars 114
2000 St. Louis Blues 114
2001 Colorado Avalanche 118
2002 Detroit Red Wings 116
2003 Ottawa Senators 113
2004 Detroit Red Wings 109
2005
2006 Detroit Red Wings 124
2007 Buffalo Sabres 113
2008 Detroit Red Wings 115
2009 San Jose Sharks 117
2010 Washington Capitals 121
2011 Vancouver Canucks 117
2012 Vancouver Canucks 111
2013 Chicago Blackhawks 77

The Western Conference beats out the Eastern Conference 15 times to 4, or nearly 80% of the time.

When you look at how pathetic the Eastern Conference is, and how it clearly lacks the heart and discipline it takes to be champions, it's pretty shocking. The East-Coast bias of the NHL and hockey media that we know all too well is likely just an attempt to keep the illusion that they have a competitive conference worthy of NHL play out East, but you can't argue with fact.

You can't really blame teams like the Red Wings for wanting to bail on the Western Conference. Just as Detroit is in a performance decline, they're able to join a weaker conference where they can once again be seen as a dominant force. But is there any honor in that? Any random ECHL team could surely be a dominant force in the Eastern Conference; that doesn't mean they play good hockey.

Nonetheless, congratulations to the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks, as well as their fans.

And congratulations to the Western Conference, which has once again proved to be the far superior force in the NHL.

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