by user Madproof9
My prediction: Some one from the Northwest Division will play for the Stanley Cup. Maybe not win it (I think Philly will win it), but at least be in the finals. Argue with me all you want. Tell me how the Red Wings have the best record in the NHL. Well, here is all I have to say to you.
You know why Detroit has the best record? It’s because they are in the absolute worst division in hockey, and with the new NHL, it's set up so nearly half of all the games played are against your division rivals. Yes, Detroit is a good team (that's hard to admit, being an Avs fan), and I will also give Nashville some credit; they are actually proving themselves this year. However, look at the other three teams Detroit plays the majority of their games against; St. Louis, Chicago, and Columbus, the three worst teams in the West, and three of the five worst teams in the whole league. Any team can rack up 122 points when 54 of those points were pretty much handed to you for no reason other than the location of your city in relation to other NHL cities.
Now you will probably say “the first place team in the Northwest is 18 points behind Detroit.” That is true. And it is because the Northwest division has to play the Northwest division for half of its games. When you have three of the best teams in hockey in the same division, there is not going to be one real winner or one real loser in the group. All the teams will win about the same amount, and lose the same amount. If Detroit switched divisions with Colorado, Calgary, or Edmonton, even Vancouver, I garuntee that that team would have 122 points right now, and Detroit would have around 96-105. Detroit is off parading about how they can beat the St. Louis Blues, while Colorado, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton are just hanging in there battling it out with the toughest competitors in the sport, and still staying on track to make the playoffs. A week ago, four of the five Northwest division teams would have made the playoffs(only three ended up making it).
Detroit does have an impressive record against the Northwest Division, 13-5-1, but that record almost proves my point. Detroit played half the amount of games against the Northwest than the Central, and lost more than twice the amount of games than they lost against their own division. The NHL season is long and extreamly tough. By playing St. Louis and Columbus all season, Detroit saved themselves from really getting beat up and broken down like a lot of the other teams in the league do, which greatly helped them when they played teams that have been getting beat up all year long.
I'm not saying Detroit is a bad team, because they aren't, they are a good team, a very good team. And I'm not saying that Calgary or Colorado or even Dallas is the best team. What I'm saying is the way the NHL scheduling is set up now makes the standings very deceiving. I think that it's going to show in the playoffs, that Detroit took the easier road to get where they are, and won't last very long when they have to continuously play opponents who are much better than the ones they are used to playing for most of the year. I'll take Detroit losing in the second round, and Calgary winning the Western Conference.
Mon 04/17/06, 2:39 am EST