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Tuesdays With Hildy: East vs. West - Which Conference Is Your Preference?

Ok, duh, we'll probably all say Western Conference, thanks to the fact that the Blues reside there. But mostly, though, I'm looking at how the West upholds the ideals of "old time hockey," while the Eastern Conference is Bettman's wide open dream.

Look at the stuperstars from each Conference, and you can see the difference ASAP: Vinny Lecavalier, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Mike (LEADERSHIP) Richards, Geno Malkin, Marian Gaborik. These are the guys who thrive on open ice. They're the guys who float about (or in Ovie's case, fling themselves about) waiting for that perfect open ice pass to put it home. There's no net crashing from these guys. Very, very much of it is just inborn hockey sense; there is no grinding in their future.

Now take a look at the Western Conference: Rick Nash, Jerome Iginla, the Bobble Twins, Penner, Kopitar, Marleau. These are the guys who are the core of their teams, but teams that won't shy away from a good tumble. A lot of these guys have had to work their way into where they are today. There's not a coincidence here - the West is spanking the East head to head because of this.

You saw a taste of what to expect with the Rangers - be rough and tumble, and they have no clue what to do. Torts is all bluster and yelling, but no action unless Brashear's out there. And, let's face it, Huggy Bear's only there to swing fists. He hasn't gotten a goal since the Carter administration. One enforcer a team does not count as rough and tumble. Tomorrow night against the Habs'll be similar if we keep the energy going. They're a bunch of midgets, but midgets with speed. Speed does you no good when you have to keep popping your hip back into place. Ask Kariya.

Of course, if you're a fan of the rough-n-tumble, then the West is likely your game. What of the massive scoring chances, brilliant tape to tape passes, and dizzying speed of the East? A fight can bring you out of your seat, a check can make you cheer, but have you ever found yourself scooting to the edge of your seat and leaning forward when Brad Boyes has the puck? You do that when you're watching Ovie live, every time he touches the puck. You anticipate a booming shot from the point that rattles the boards when Kovalchuk has the puck. Theatrics? You'll get them with Crosby. The West is getting a sense of this with the recent importation of Heatley and Hossa - two players who have edge of your seat capabilities. But as of right now, it almost seems like the East has a monopoly on guys like that.

So, which do you prefer? East or West?