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Captain Obvious says: A good team’s going to miss the playoffs in the West

Nov 12, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT

source:

Just thought we’d post the Western Conference standings for the sake of discussion. As you can see, if the playoffs started today, the Los Angeles Kings — the 2012 Stanley Cup champions — would be on the outside looking in. And you know what? We’re thinking they’d be pretty upset they only got to play 17 games while Vancouver got to play 20. Might launch a formal complaint even.

Of course, the playoffs don’t start today. They don’t start for quite a while actually. The point is, at least one of those nine teams with 22 or more points is going to miss them. And that’s…something. Especially when you consider 22 points gets you a tie for third in the East today.

Of the current top nine in the West, the Canucks have the worst record based on percentage of points gained (.600); however, they’ve also played just seven home games compared to 13 on the road. Certainly, though, Vancouver is on the bubble, and this is a team that hasn’t missed the postseason since 2008. If John Tortorella’s first season behind the bench results in zero playoff games, well, there won’t be any shortage of Mike Gillis critics. (As if there’s a shortage now.)

We’re not willing to call any of the other eight “locks” to make the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, or San Jose not getting the job done. Colorado and Anaheim could fall off a bit, but they’ve built such a big cushion with their great starts. Phoenix and Minnesota are candidates to miss, but mostly because someone will have to.

Let’s also not count out Nashville, Dallas, or Winnipeg, though we can probably count out Edmonton and Calgary.

Anyway, plenty of games left. Lots of things can happen. Injuries. Trades. Slumps. (Lest we forget the 2011-12 Wild, who started 20-7-3 and finished 34-36-11.) Streaks. (E.g. the 2008-09 Blues, who started 16-23-2 and finished 41-31-10.) Guess we’ll keep watching.

  1. ethanmacleod1685 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    One of the best western conferences I’ve ever seen, it’s war every night out west

    • thailer35 - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      And the big concern with realignment that it would be harder for an Eastern Conference team to make it than a Western Conference team because there are more teams in the Eastern Conference. Western Conference said screw that!!

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Nov 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      I have to say, I’m no fan of any Pacific teams but I have been making it a point lately to watch Pacific division matchups simply because of the level of hockey being played.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    The elite teams in the west IMO, based on previous history and status are
    (In no particular order)
    San Jose
    Chicago
    St. Louis
    Los Angeles.
    Not to count out the teams doing really well I.e Anaheim and Colorado but like it was referenced in the article, teams that have struggled in recent seasons and then have great starts aren’t locks to make the playoffs in November.

  3. hockeycoach1 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Scrap the conference format and go back to the 1v16 format of long ago, travel be damned! Makes it more likely that the best teams advance to the semis/finals and it opens the door for Final matchups like Det-Tor, LA-SJ, Chi-StL, Mon-Bos, Pit-Phil, etc

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      lol “travel be damned” is easier said when you aren’t doing the traveling.

      • alexbaymac - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Except that the travel EVEN IN JUST THE WEST is already ‘damned’ as it is. Open it up to everyone & let it fall where it may. But they’ll never get the Eastern teams to buy into that; it hurts them too much & we already clearly see the possibility of how many might not make the Playoffs now. It’ll never sell.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        I like the different perspective, but I don’t see how that would even the playing field. to me, it just seems like it’s making it more travel for everybody. i think it’d take a computer generated, no-conference schedule and some pretty serious number-crunching to evaluate that though. I’ll leave that up to somebody who already supports the idea lol.

    • kaptaanamerica - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      Bos-Mtl, Phi vs. anyone in the northeast would be crazy, NYR-NYI-NJ versus each other in any combination, SJ-LA-Ana-Vcr in any combination, Edm-Cgy-Vcr in any combination, Ott-Mtl-Tor-Buf in any combination, Chi-Det, Col-Det, Nas-Det, Vcr-Tor, and probably a few others i missed….

  4. btlpper68 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    West better than east realy

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      I think we’ve discovered who this “Captain Obvious” was.

  5. blues1988 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    i thought getting into the playoffs was different this year. i thought it was based on top 3 teams in each division w/ 2 wild cards. did i get this wrong?

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      ya, that’s what it is.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      No, you’re correct. The wild cards however are the top two teams left over based on points in the conference regardless of division.

    • elvispocomo - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      I’ll give you a minute to do the math…

      Ok, long enough. That still only gives you 8 teams from each conference to make the playoffs. There’s no cross over in the first round, so no chance for the West to have more than 8 teams qualify at the expense of a lesser team in the East.

      So, with Colorado, Phoenix and Minnesota doing better this year and only 8 spots, who do you think isn’t a good team that could fall outside that?

  6. c9castine - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    id say partly due to two less teams but seriously weird how much better the west is than the east right now. there is like, maybe 4 teams worth a damn in the east right now, the only two proven being Pittsburgh and Boston.

    • skr213 - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Hard to not include the Lightning in there, but that was before someone breaking their leg.

      • c9castine - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        they were in those 4 but aren’t proven to be a real threat yet, like the Pens and Bruins. those two teams are always in this spot. and like you said, now stamkos out. toronto, they aren’t really that good. they play like a 7-8 seed. i expect the rangers to surface here soon, but even winning 6 of 7 isn’t enough to make me take them seriously after 3-7 start.

        things will shake out but east looks bad right now.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        I’m convinced the Caps will take one of the 3 division seeds. they’re a better team than they’ve been given credit for early on. They started the season with some things to work out, but I think they’re showing that they’re capable (if last season wasn’t enough to tell you that). I hate to be this guy, but I said it from the beginning, Caps are a top team in the east this year.

  7. flash8910 - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Your point is valid, but your methods need improvement. Because all the teams have not played the same number of games, the key is the percentage of points gained. LA should actually be in 8th because they have 3 gams in hand on the Canucks.

    # Team GP W L OTL Pts Pt%
    1 Colorado 16 14 2 0 28 87.5%
    2 Anaheim 19 15 3 1 31 81.6%
    3 St. Louis 15 11 2 2 24 80.0%
    4 Chicago 18 12 2 4 28 77.8%
    5 San Jose 17 10 2 5 25 73.5%
    6 Phoenix 18 12 4 2 26 72.2%
    7 Minnesota 18 10 4 4 24 66.7%
    8 LA 17 11 6 0 22 64.7%
    9 Vancouver 20 11 7 2 24 60.0%
    10 Nashville 17 8 7 2 18 52.9%
    11 Dallas 17 8 7 2 18 52.9%
    12 Winnipeg 19 8 9 2 18 47.4%
    13 Calgary 17 6 9 2 14 41.2%
    14 Edmonton 19 4 13 2 10 26.3%

    It is quite ridiculous how a team that has gained 60% of the available points would be out in the West, and the 6th seed in the East.

    # Team GP W L OTL Pts Pt%
    1 Tampa 17 12 5 0 24 70.6%
    2 Boston 17 11 5 1 23 67.6%
    3 Toronto 17 11 6 0 22 64.7%
    4 Pittsburgh 17 11 6 0 22 64.7%
    5 Detroit 18 9 5 4 22 61.1%
    6 Ottawa 17 7 6 4 18 52.9%
    7 NYR 17 9 8 0 18 52.9%
    8 Montreal 18 9 8 1 19 52.8%
    9 Wash 18 9 8 1 19 52.8%
    10 Carolina 17 6 7 4 16 47.1%
    11 NJ 17 5 7 5 15 44.1%
    12 NYI 18 6 9 3 15 41.7%
    13 Columbus 16 6 10 0 12 37.5%
    14 Phil 16 5 10 1 11 34.4%
    15 Florida 18 3 11 4 10 27.8%
    16 Buffalo 19 3 15 1 7 18.4%

    • elvispocomo - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      I don’t think the method matters so much when you still have to consider a good team (Vancouver) being left out.

      Nashville and Dallas are a step down still, but I’d expect Dallas to improve and maybe even Nashville once Rinne returns. They’re as good as the Sens, Rangers, Habs and Caps in the East by the point percentage, yet the West’s 10/11 spots compare to the East’s 6-9.

      You can bet Nashville wishes they were in the East this year…

  8. jcmeyer10 - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Who you going to jinx today Bro[ugh]? :D

  9. steverolley - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Yep less than 20 games in lets look at playoff positioning. Because we know all these teams in the west will keep winning at the same rate, because nothing ever happens in hockey…… just ask Tampa Bay

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      if you’ve never looked at the standing mid-season, you aren’t a hockey fan.

    • elvispocomo - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      So you’re saying he doesn’t have a point? That the West has been greatly overperforming while the East has been underperforming and they’re both actually on par for talent between all the teams?

  10. rebekah319 - Nov 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    By the way none of this really matters right now due to how everything changes on a nightly basis…

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