Blog Entry

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:31 pm
 
West

By: Adam Gretz


Over the past decade -- and especially over the past five seasons -- the Western Conference has been dominated by a small handful of teams, particularly at the top of the regular season standings. In any given year it's been a safe bet that Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver will be there in some order.

In the early 2000's Detroit, Colorado and Dallas were the dominant teams in the West, winning divisions, playing for the conference title and usually winning the Stanley Cup. In recent years the power has shifted a bit, with Detroit remaining in the drivers seat and the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks joining them at the top of the confernce.

The Red Wings are the only team that's made the playoffs in each of the past nine seasons, finishing in one of the top-two spots seven times, and out of the top-three only once (2009-10). In the pre-cap era when they could spend as much as they wanted on free agents (and keeping their own players) they were an elite franchise, and adjusted to the capped NHL remarkably well, continuing to remain as one of the gold standard franchises in the league.

There's been quite a bit of juggling in the No's 4 through 15 spots, but the top-three (the divisional winners) have been pretty consistent.

In total, nine different teams in the West have claimed a division title over the past nine seasons, with only five of them taking more than one. Here's the quick breakdown:

Central Division: Detroit (8), Chicago (1), St. Louis (0), Nashville (0), Columbus (0)
Northwest Division: Vancouver (5), Colorado (2), Calgary (1), Minnesota (1), Edmonton (0)
Pacific Division: San Jose (6), Dallas (2), Anaheim (1), Los Angeles (0), Phoenix (0)

There's not really a lot of variety there. While nine of the 15 teams have managed to win a division over this stretch, the past five years have been dominated by Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver, with each of those clubs winning their division in four of the past five seasons. Heading into 2011 each team is looking to be an early favorite to take its division once again.

Colorado and Dallas, the other two teams to win more than one title, haven't finished at the top of their respective division since before the lockout.

But what happens once the postseason starts? Are the Western Conference playoffs still dominated by the same three teams at the top?

Over the same nine-year stretch 10 different teams have managed to go as far as the conference finals, with (no surprise here) Detroit leading the way with four trips. The rest of the teams have had the following appearances: San Jose (3), Anaheim (3), Chicago (2), Vancouver (1), Calgary (1), Edmonton (1), Minnesota (1), Dallas (1) and Colorado (1).

The list of teams that have actually made the Stanley Cup Final is even shorter: Detroit (3), Anaheim (2), Vancouver (1), Chicago (1), Edmonton (1), Calgary (1). Since the Salary Cap was put into place prior to the 2005-06 season the list shrinks down to just Detroit, Anaheim, Vancouver and Chicago  being the only teams to represent the West over the past six seasons.

Are any other teams ready to take a step and leapfrog the established power in their division, or the conference in general? The Kings may have positioned itself to make a run at San Jose in the Pacific thanks to the blockbuster trade that landed them Mike Richards, forming a fantastic 1-2 punch down the middle with he and Anze Kopitar.

Chicago, coming off a disappointing defense of the Stanley Cup this past season thanks in large part to a sluggish first half, should give Detroit a solid run for its money, but the Canucks look to still be the runaway favorite in the Northwest, as well as the Conference. If not the entire NHL.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Old news yes! Debates always seem to relate to History, Historys seem to relate to Winning Cups, Winning Cups seems to be the only thing that matters most. Agreed to some point yes but I disagree. What I think may or may not matter to people including me throwing in my 2 cents but I see is CONSISTANT OVERALL SUCCESS that matters most whether it's Season, Post-Season or Combined. ERAS are followed by a team's SUCCESS...How & where does that matter most in attending that GOAL??......History.....History in using proper Management in key areas comes from experience & w/former key role experienced players. Legacies & ERAS start from the Key Management that stems into SUCCESS. It's a new begining for Steve Y & the Eastern Conf Bolts but challenges will be brought his way in continuing his SUCCESSS. In all areas for the Bolts to be Contenders Steve Y must continue to strengthen his Staff. It doesn't amaze me he got the Bolts in the right direction right away but his SUCCESS stems from/as a former REDWING. Look at Stanley Cup Bowman & the Blackhawks, History is continuing his Father's Legacy as one of the Greats to ever manage the game. Fatherly advise from Scotty Bowman is paying off w/continuing SUCCESS. Teams are beginning to follow the REDWINGS BANDWAGON...Rich in History w/SUCCESS. Not too many teams follow their scheme of signing key Veterans w/little money involved. Why do you think so many players want to be part of an Organization that continues SUCCESSS? It's cause they want to have that chance to Win something big in their lives, be part of a winning team that has a shot at winning the Cup year after year plus the REDWINGS treat you as one of theirs...family. It's not all about the Paycheck but to some it does. The people's Ideas & what most people think is the Detroit Redwings Stem from the New York Yankees of Baseball. You always hear & refer the Detroit Redwings as the New York Yankees of Baseball in winning tradition. Quite frankly the New York Yankees are the opposite of the Detroit Redwings w/the exception of a winning tradition. The Detroit Redwings don't buy themselves into a Championship Calibur Team, Detroit Redwings don't part ways when your family unlike the New York Yankees. Yes business is business but you're used properly not disposed unlike the Yanks. Besides the NHL has a Salary Cap & MLB doesn't. Teams who continue to buy into perinial team will fill the struggle w/decisions year after year. I always thought Dean Lombardi was too big for his Britges, he'll certainly pay for his lack of patients & knowledge for his Blockbuster Trade in acquiring Mike Richards in giving up Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds & 2nd Round pick. Don't get me wrong Mike Richards is a Stud but the Kings put themselves back losing out on that trade. Now that the Kings have lost Ryan Smyth to me that shows they can't keep a winning team. Look what Hollywood brought....a mess to the KINGS. I also love what the Philly Flyers have done, congrats on making good trade decisions w/Jeff Carter, Mike Richards & acquiring Brygalov etc....smart movement by the Flyers Redwings will always be a Cup Contender year after year til that main Artery is broke. Love or Hate the REDWINGS but they know direction  Lots of Teams in the Western Conf show me they have much potential especially in the Central & contending Pacific Divsions.



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Let's try and clear this up. He stated that the 20 year playoff streak was a RECORD ACROSS 4 MAJOR SPORTS!!  He NEVER said anything about active, even though it still falls short of the record. Also, at NO TIME did I state that the Blackhawks streak of 28 years was a record. Do me a favor, research a little about the rivalry between the Blackhawks and Redwings and tell me what you find. As a clue, it has to do with ownership, landlords and trades. Getting back to THIS subject matter,  this was about playoff streaks, not Cup titles. Nice of you to turn things around to TRY and get it to your favor. The least you could do is stay on task, that shouldn't be asking too much. Sheesh!

Ok what would you like to know about this rivalry.

It all started back in November 24, 1926.  It was the first win in Detroit franchise history, and the first loss in Chicago franchise history.

That the Red Wings have beat the Blackhawks 396 times.






Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

I wish the article mentioned how fanbases had an impact on winning.Smile



Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:15 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Y

ardog59

The Detroit Red Wings' current 20-season streak of making the post-season is the longest active streak of any of the four major professional sports leagues (NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB). If you read this it is active streak which is what I believe the other person was trying to tell you. Winning the cup during this streak 4 times.

The streak you are refering to is Longest of all time in which Boston was first with 29 and winning two cups
The Blackhawks were second  with 28 and winning zero cups.

Also the Blackhawks have won the cup 4 times ... The Red Wings have won the cup 11 times.


We will let you know when the Blackhawks catch up.... Thanks for playing  lol

Let's try and clear this up. He stated that the 20 year playoff streak was a RECORD ACROSS 4 MAJOR SPORTS!!  He NEVER said anything about active, even though it still falls short of the record. Also, at NO TIME did I state that the Blackhawks streak of 28 years was a record. Do me a favor, research a little about the rivalry between the Blackhawks and Redwings and tell me what you find. As a clue, it has to do with ownership, landlords and trades. Getting back to THIS subject matter,  this was about playoff streaks, not Cup titles. Nice of you to turn things around to TRY and get it to your favor. The least you could do is stay on task, that shouldn't be asking too much. Sheesh!





Since: Oct 27, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

jeepster60, you are right it wasn't the question.  And I think classy went out the window with your "thanks for playing" comment.  Winning the Stanley Cup is what the most teams have as a goal at the start of each season, not just making the playoffs.  If it makes it easier for you to deal with your lack of Stanley Cup's by saying at least we made the playoffs 28 years in a row and we'll let you know when you catch up, then good for you.




Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Yardog59

The Detroit Red Wings' current 20-season streak of making the post-season is the longest active streak of any of the four major professional sports leagues (NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB). If you read this it is active streak which is what I believe the other person was trying to tell you. Winning the cup during this streak 4 times.

The streak you are refering to is Longest of all time in which Boston was first with 29 and winning two cups
The Blackhawks were second  with 28 and winning zero cups.

Also the Blackhawks have won the cup 4 times ... The Red Wings have won the cup 11 times.


We will let you know when the Blackhawks catch up.... Thanks for playing  lol




Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:56 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

Orangeman, my comment was a joke. It was a reference to a poorly conceived and worded thread from a couple of years ago which proclaimed The Western Conference is DOMINATE.

I'd happily give you a link to that thread, but sadly, thanks to the inability of CBS to maintain a database, it would seem to have vanished. In any case, no need to get all defensive about it. Smile



Since: Apr 17, 2010
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:37 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

I love the DOMINATE references becasue, of course, we all now that DOMINATE is an adjective Undecided

This article was probably written by Captain Obvious. It's basically saying that good teams are the favorites - an idea that makes you say, "Really? I never would have thought that would be the case." Canucks will win the Northwest by a wide margin again; the Central will be won by either the Wings or the Hawks; and the Northeast will either be won by the Sharks or the Kings. We have a winner. I'm so happy to be enlightened about which teams are good 'cause I've been living under a rock for the past 6 years. I love fluff hockey pieces in the summer when CBS has run out of things to talk about. Free agency is over and there hasn't been any news on Crosby's health status or much on Doughty, so I guess I can't blame them for writing articles that don't need to be written. At least I saw the word DOMINATE a few times in the comments.



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:37 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

I don't agree that the Canucks are the best team in the league. They only made the Finals last season. In previous years they were never that close to winning it all. San Jose will always rule in the regular season...while Detroit will always rule in the postseason. Vancouver is a wild-card in the playoffs. Enough said! However, I do expect Chicago to do well. Simply because every sports writer out there had pegged them to easily defend their title....yeah right! Look what happened!



Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:16 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

i will admit when i made a mistake.

the 20 years was refering to the active nature of the streak. i misspoke and misunderstood the nature of the record.

still this modern 20 is unbelievably impressive considering these wings did not have the canadian draft that the early montreal and maple leaf teams enjoyed, and it has endured a league format change from uncapped to cap, plus more teams means less consentration of talent which goes both ways but does limit depth making such streaks more vulnerable to injury like what almost happened 2 years ago.

anyway while my context was skewed, my number was still right. which still makes the wings the paradigm of awesome.


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