During the Western Conference playoffs last season, if you were to ask a Chicago Blackhawks fan who was the team they wanted to see the least, they would have said the St. Louis Blues. The Los Angeles Kings got in the way of the bitter division rivals meeting in the playoffs.
Since the Detroit Red Wings moved on to the Eastern Conference, a team has to fill the rivalry void.
The Blues plan to hold up their end. The two teams will get reacquainted tonight. They know each other quite well. Both teams have legendary players named Hull along with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who coached the Blues for eight seasons (1996-2004).
The Central Division rivals have had a long history of bitterness. See here:
John Scott vs Cam Janssen
I saw this one in person
The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre
Jonathan Toews scores 12 seconds in
The Blues are now the clear cut team for Blackhawks fans to hate. That shouldn’t be too hard due to the longstanding rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Even though the teams have been chippy for years, expect for things to ratchet up.
The Blues are a big, physical team. The type of team that the Blackhawks have historically struggled with. The Blues will try to get the Blackhawks off of their game by playing a physical brand of hockey. That might be a difficult task after the Boston Bruins tried a similar strategy. The Blackhawks countered Boston plans by wearing them down with speed and depth.
Expect for the Blues to be a thorn on the side of the Chicago Blackhawks for years to come. During the offseason, the Blues added former Vancouver Canucks pest Maxim Lapierre. Wednesday’s night is going to be fun. Lapierre told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as much.
“We always liked the games against Chicago in Vancouver, and I feel like it’s going to be the same here. It’s going to be pretty intense and it’s going to be a playoff type of game.”
The Hockey News expects the Blues to win the Stanley Cup this season. The Blackhawks want to keep the Stanley Cup local. Something got to give.
Expect for the Blues to be the thorn on the side of the Chicago Blackhawks for years to come.
Evan F. Moore is The Hockey Writers contributing Blackhawks Writer.His work has appeared in the Red Eye,The Checking Line,Gapers Block,ChicagoSide,Extra Bilingual Newspaper, Chicago Now, Time Out Chicago. He resides in Chicago.