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03-24-2013, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthStar4Canes View Post
Speaking of the Smythe Division then, yikes. The Oilers perenially had 1 decent team to contend with on the road to and through some of the playoffs....well, Hawerchuck too, but after all he was just one guy, not a team. Now there's some "strength of opposition" numbers that aren't going to get probed too deeply by those around here touting them as the be-all, end all in criteria.
Strength of opposition is not be-all end-all, it is one factor. So is winning percentage. (There are other factors too, but we'll leave it here for now.)

The 1985 Oilers (Edmonton's 2nd best run) going 15-3 against 4 teams with winning records beats the 1981 Isles (NYI's best run) going 15-3 against the 9th, 13th, 14th and 16th best teams in the NHL. The Oilers had better records in their Cup victories against better competition, so I place more value on those victories. After all not all Cups are created equal. I think we'd all agree the 1977 Canadiens are better than the 2004 Lightning.

As for probing, in Edmonton's first 4 Cup years the Smythe gave Edmonton an average opponent that had 84.125 points. Again, in 1985 the Oilers only played winning teams, including the 96 point Winnipeg Jets (Winnipeg Hawerchuks?) who were 4th in the NHL. Making great teams look like lightweights in retrospect is one of those things that scores points for subjectively determining how great your dynasty is.

The quality of opposition is about the same for Edmonton's first two rounds as the Islanders first and second round opponents for their 4 Cups (83.125 points). So they're in the same ballpark for opponents, yet the Isles swept only one of their opponents in the first two rounds. Overall, New York played as many losing teams in four years as the Oilers did in seven years.

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