Sidney Crosby is scoring like it's 1988. The Detroit Red Wings are four points from the President's Trophy with five games in hand. Carey Price has turned the boo birds in Montreal. The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing like last year's Chicago Blackhawks. There are a number of compelling storylines at this point in the season and TSN and Versus are likely to exhaust all of them and more over the next few months. But one story, the throttling of the Eastern Conference at the hands of the Western Conference, should be the story of the early season.
|Record Versus Eastern Conference|
The Western Conference is 57-31-12 versus the Eastern Conference so far this season, for a .570 winning percentage. Only five of 15 Western Conference teams have losing record against the East, and one of those teams is Detroit, a team with only one game against the East thus far. The Red Wings are off to a blistering 16-4-2 start, and they've yet to benefit from beating up on the East.
If you're looking for some coming trends, consider the Stars and Kings have already played ten games against the Eastern conference, the Stars going 8-2, the Kings 7-3 and only have eight games left against the weaker sister. Both teams are playing .500 hockey against Western Conference opponents early in the season. The Blue Jackets have only played four games and the Blackhawks five, so while they won't likely make up ground against the Wings, they will make up ground against the Kings and Stars.
The Eastern conference has had some success against the West thus far, namely against the Northwest, the weakest division in the conference. The Northwest is 15-20 against the East thus far, and that gap was closed by the Oilers three game winning streak against the Senators, Canadiens and Maple Leafs. The bottom five teams in the league all hail from the East and only one of those teams is from the oft picked on Southeast Division.
Western Conference dominance is not a surprise - it's been the better conference since the lockout - but this level of domination is a surprise. Certainly, sustainability should be in question, but with Detroit, Chicago and Columbus playing catchup to the rest of the conference, the East is going to take a few more lumps before things turn around.