NHL 2010: Parity in the NHL, What Separates Winners From Losers?

Dave HaineContributor IIIDecember 10, 2010

Gary Bettman
Gary BettmanJim Rogash/Getty Images

It's a tie!

The world of Professional sports strives for parity.

Well, most leagues (Major League Baseball is the exception, stupid Yankees) and the NHL Western Conference is a dead heat!

Leagues run their amateur drafts and have all sorts of rules or policies designed to create balance. 

I don't believe the league really cares about being fair for the sake of being fair—it's about owners! Some owners are championship hungry, but all are bottom line sensitive. 

It's a business—all owners look to have their investment provide maximum profits.

Winning keeps fans interested and interested fans are happy fans which equals money.

We all dream of our team as a dynasty but reality is the game craves equality.

The systems are in place to help each team build a roster that can challenge for glory. 

It all sounds great, but some teams take longer or sadly never turn the corner while others seem to never leave the dance floor. 

This year, the NHL, through two months, has an incredibly level playing field. Any night, any team can win without any shock and the standings verify that.      

As of the end of play on December 9th, the Western Conference has six teams tied at 32 points, technically tied for the last play-off spot yet holding fifth place at the same time. 

The six teams in the pile up range from 26 games played (Los Angeles) to 31 (Anaheim). Three teams (Phoenix, St. Louis and Nashville) have all played 27 and the usual powerhouse (San Jose Sharks) have played 28.  

The level of competition in the west is scary; only four points separate second and 12th place, now that's balance.

In a season 82 games long, the streaks (hot or cold) will make or break a team. The journey through a season can swing by an injury, trade or lack there of.

Are you a buyer or a seller? Are you rebuilding or contending? The role of the General Manager is a tough one and the rules in the collective bargaining agreement are only going to make is tougher.

To steal an overused cliche about the NHL season, it is a marathon! Who knows what the rest of the season will bring, but it will be a nailbiter to the end.

In a league this even, every NHL owner better have the right people making decisions for them.   

It's very easy to lose, but the best find a way to win. 

Some teams get it, others don't.

Remember—you can't cure stupid!