We are seeing a tremendous year of hockey. Tight standings, fun play and a division/conference that is up for grabs. Currently we have three teams that are in a fight for the western conference lead with 47 points apiece, L.A., Chicago, and San Jose. However, Chicago has earned those 47 in just 33 games. Nashville stands alone at 45 points, but stands to move up if they beat Calgary in their next tilt.
Colorado, Calgary, and Phoenix are all at 44 points, with the Avs having played 36 games, and the Coyotes at 35. The Avs can retake the NW division, and third in the west with a win tonight, and loss by Calgary, even though points wise they would be behind Nashville.
Detroit is fighting for the eighth seed as it stands, but will be doing so without the services of Zetterberg for a while. Vancouver and Dallas are fighting for that position as well. Dallas however is 3-3-4 in their last ten, and if we include OTL as just plain losses they are well below the .500 mark.
Minnesota is playing well as of late, and an 8-2-0 record in their last ten indicates they are playing well at the moment. The additions of new players over the summer seems to be helping, but a burning equipment van is never a good thing.
I think to get a better look at the standings we should probably take the combined record of OTL with regular losses. I know we gain a point out of them, and come playoff time those points are terribly valuable, but to really assess a teams true standings Wins vs Losses regardless of OTL is a truer picture.
1. Chicago- 22-11, 11 games over .500.
2. San Jose- 20-15, 5 games over .500.
3. Calgary- 20-14, 6 games over .500
4. Los Angeles- 22-15, 7 games over .500
5. Nashville- 21-14, 7 games over .500
6. Phoenix- 21-12-2, 7 games over .500
7. Colorado- 19-17, 2 games over .500
8. Detroit- 18-16, 2 games over .500
If we use just these statistics, hands down the team that is playing the best in the West right now is Chicago. That team is clicking, and should be a model for how to rebuild a team in the cap era. Their test will come in the playoffs, but they will take what they have learned from last year's experience and hopefully be able to prove they are the real deal.
Los Angeles is also scary good, and Kopitar is getting Ryan Smyth back. We in Colorado remember him being in and out of the line up, but truthfully that is what you get when he plays. Heart and Soul, with a very distinct chance of injury.
Welcome to the wild West, can't wait to see the playoff matchups! What are some other stats you all think are more telling than simply the standings? Is the OTL still a sore subject? How about 3 points for a win in regulation, 2 points for an OTW, and 1 point for an OTL.