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Are The Eastern Conference Teams Playing a Tougher Game?

June 29, 2020, 11:30 AM ET [71 Comments]
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It has been a stereotype for years, but the general feeling, for as long as I can remember, is the game played by the Eastern Conference teams tends to be a rougher and tougher game. I don't know why this tends to be the case, but I can remember some very specific cases where an "old school" eastern team has taken out a team from the west. Boston beating Vancouver for the Stanley Cup a few years back was one definite example...

And yet last season, it was the Blues who were more physical than the Big Bad Bruins in a seven game war. The NHL is a copycat league and we have seen teams looking to get bigger because of the Blues success.

How does one judge toughness? Some say penalty minutes, but I like to look to the hits per Game stats....and this season, the hits per game numbers were dominated by the Eastern teams. In fact, among the top hits-per-game leaders there is only one western conference team among the top nine, and that team is the team I am always saying plays the most like an Eastern Conference team...The Vegas Golden Knights.

As tough as the Blues were in the playoffs last season, this season the Blues are 19th in the NHL in hits....

Looking at the top Penalty Minute teams, the first Western Conference Team we see, that is still playing, is Vancouver who rank 9th in PIMs.

So is the East game a tougher game, and will a tougher game mean more success when it comes to playing for a Stanley Cup?

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