Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When East Meets West

While attending a party with my wife last Saturday, of course you can expect that "Hockey Night in Canada" was on the TV. At this party was Flames TV host Alex Ruiz, who was a friend of the host of the party. We all were talking about the game and hockey as whole, fun time for all. However, one very interesting point arose. While we were chit-chatting about her show and our show-- she posed the question of what we could expect when teams in the Eastern Conference started meeting teams in the Western Conference.

As luck would have it, something exactly like that is coming up in the next few weeks here, so why the hell not talk about it, right?? Let's face it, it's a big deal since each team faces only 5 non-Conference foes a season, once at home and once on the road.

When you look at some of the Western Conference teams, you have a mixed bag. Teams like the Calgary, Minnesota, and Edmonton seem to have defensive first mentality and often win plenty of one goal games in the process. You shift over to the Eastern Conference were you have teams like Ottawa, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and NY Rangers who love to score and really don't care too much about defense, just so long as they outscore the other team in the end.

I'm sure after some of these games are actually played, we'll get a better gauge of the whole situation, but just looking at all of this on paper, I would love to see more inter-Conference match-ups. I understand that the NHL wants to build rivalries, and that's all well and good. However, when you have teams like Ottawa only visiting select cities in the West (luckily, this year it was against the Northwest Division with all the Canadian teams in it), it's slighting the areas that need it. Places like Nashville and Phoenix, who would love to see a high scoring team like Ottawa have to wait a couple years and by then, you don't know if they are going to be the same team they were this year.

Conversely, teams in the West who want to see Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin play, they'll have to wait once every three years to come by. Of course, they can see the darkhorse Dion Phaneuf a lot of times, but since Crosby and Ovechkin are hogging all the rookie headlines; they seem to forget about Phaneuf and all the good he is able to do out there on the ice. It seems to give the shaft to the Western fans, but in the end it's all about create some kind of faux rivalry that may or may not be there.

But anyway-- will the style of play be that much different?? Will the Eastern Conference teams be startled by the actual defense that is being played in the West?? Will the Western Conference teams be force to go balls-to-the-walls on offense and try to find some sort of scoring in their bag of defensive tricks??

Personally, I think in the first few minutes, it could be a chess match between the coaches. They'll feel each other out for the first 4 to 5 shifts, and from there it's all out war. The collision of the Conference should be a dandy to watch and a dandy to be a part of. I think once the NHL sees what it could actually do to the game and attendance, they may have to re-think their idea about limiting the time each Conference meets each other.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

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