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: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:02 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

My wife REALLY needs to STOP leaving her page up when I'm home!



Since: Dec 22, 2010
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:00 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

How many Stanley Cups did the Blackhawks win during their 28 season streak?

Oh, I know...NONE...
<span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">That wasn't the question now, was it? I was answering his claim that the Wings 20 straight playoff season was a record across 4 sports. I was making a correction. Nice of you to take it in another direction though. Stay classy!!


 



Since: May 13, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:46 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

OLD NEWS CBS



Since: Oct 27, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:59 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

How many Stanley Cups did the Blackhawks win during their 28 season streak?

Oh, I know...NONE...



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:58 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

He probably meant that it's the longest ACTIVE streak.  Hat's off to all the great teams of years(decades) past.



Since: Nov 8, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:36 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

word!!!LOL




Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:21 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

piss poor phrashing there talking about the wings only making the playoffs 9 times.

the red wings have made the playoffs 20 straight years in a row. a record that is the longest in any of the big 4 professional league.
Check your facts before posting. The Blackhawks had ripped off 28 straight playoff years. We'll let you know when the Wings catch up. Thanks for playing!!









Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:43 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

I think that by now, everyone here should know the Western Conference is DOMINATE.
Let's see, since 2000, the Eastern conference has won 6 cups, the Western conference 5...just how DOMINATE is that???



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:59 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

The Blues had 25 in a row, the Bruins 29.  The Wings have the current streak at 20 matching their previous best during the Gordie Howe era.



Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:30 am
 

Dominant teams in the Western Conference

The stats as well as the story don't lie, the Red Wings are considered a "lock" to be the Western Conference representative for the Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings are pretty much "The New York Yankees" of the NHL because of their spending money and also by acquiring players who are pretty much at the twilight of their career. As for being a Red Wing fan, I just hope that those types of moves don't backfire in the Red Wings' face but so far,so good it hasn't. The Red Wings organization has pulled off so many great moves throughout the years that I feel makes a lot of the Red Wing fans very happy.......Go Red Wings and Go HockeyTown!!!!CoolMoney mouthSmile



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