The West is tougher. The Western teams beat the living hell out of each other, with far worse travel besides. Beyond the Stanley Cup result, the West has been kicking the **** out of the East in the crossover games for years.
I'd say the current view of both Conferences is accurately reflected in these posts.
Of course, you guys know as well as I that it all ebbs and flows over time.
When I started following the NHL in the early-mid90's for instance, I believe it was a case of the East being viewed as the Conference with the better teams, deeper divisions, etc....
If memory serves, the West then was looked at as "the finesse" Conference while the East harbored the big, grinding teams.
Detroit, at that time