East Or West — Who Has More Skill In The NHL?

What Conference Has More Skill?  East Or West?

Once again, twitter was the vehicle for some stimulating debate during some downtime.  It started with a tweet saying there was more skill in the Eastern Conference.  Well I agreed with that comment.  Further to my argument, I am of the opinion that the best team doesn’t necessarily have the best players.  Of course, I was rebuffed on both counts otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it.

I base my assessment on watching every Jets game since their arrival in Winnipeg.  I also base my assessment on six years of living in Arizona in the winter and watching every Phoenix Coyotes game and an awful lot of Western Conference hockey.  The difference (for me) is like night and day.  The skill in the Western Conference is not as “on display” as it is in the Eastern Conference.  It’s my observation, that’s all.  

I have been around hockey long enough to know that the team concept will beat “Star Power” more often than not.  Then you have  teams with “Star Power” that work its ass off and you get a Dynasty … aka Montreal Canadiens,  New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers.

Some say that the team that wins must have the best players.  I guess in theory that’s hard to argue against.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the teams said to have the “best players” and are favorites almost every year.  When was the last time Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup?  Sorry, I’ll carry on.

Is it a conference thing or a style of play?   Does that help or hurt my argument.  

My argument has always been that the Western Conference is a bigger (even though statistically it isn’t).  So lets say the West plays a heavier game overall.

I don’t want to diminish the skill level of the Western Conference because it probably really isn’t all about skill, it is also about the style of play.  Great players are going to score wherever they play BUT ask a Fantasy Owner if he ever had Chris Kunitz on his team before the 8th round when he was in the West?  Or is there anybody that doesn’t think Joe Thornton wouldn’t have 20 more points playing in the East?

My point is that the Eastern Conference has Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, Datsyuk, St.Louis, Giroux, Zetterberg, Tavares, Spezza.  That’s probably a little more skill than the Western Conference’s Kane, Toews, the Sedins, Thornton, Getzlaf, Perry, Parise, Couture etc.  All very good players. 

I guess I should have said that the Eastern Conference teams probably play a more wide open style that lets its skill shine a little more while the Western Conference teams play a more structured closer checking style.

Of course there is no right or wrong answer.  I’ve watched a lot of Western Conference hockey to come to this opinion and I said it, so I’ll stick to it.  I don’t feel a great need to convince people on this observation.  The hockey fans will come to their own conclusion on the topic.     

So you tell me.  Who has more skill?  The East or West?  It really does make for some interesting conversation and debate.



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