There was a time not that long ago when it was hard to argue that any division in hockey was tougher than the pacific division. Every game within the division was a close affair and the teams tended to mop up against other teams in their conference. That's saying nothing about what the West does to the East every year as well. We used to be able to look at our division record and even if we were playing .500 in the division be able to say "Hey, it's a tough division."
All the evidence you need to bear this out is in the final standings.
2007 - 2008: 3/5 teams made the playoffs
2008 - 2009: 2/5 teams (it was a down year)
2009 - 2010: 3/5 teams
2010 - 2011: 4/5 teams (with Dallas having had a chance to make it 5/5)
A look at where we stand through 1/3 of the year after the jump (just 'cause I want to use a jump)
Granted everything is real tight right now with 12 teams within 3 points of the playoffs, but let's take a closer look.
VS EC 19 - 15 - 7 (45 of 82 possible points 1.09 ppg)
VS Central 16 - 15 - 3 (35 of 68 possible points 1.04 ppg)
VS NW 10 - 11 - 1 (21 of 46 possible points .05 ppg)
If you're a team not leading the pacific you're at best 8th place. It seems conceivable if the trends continue that only the division winner will make it out of the pacific this year. For a division that many say only got strong over the off season, it seems to be division mired in mediocrity through the first third.
What are your thoughts?