Like all successful teams in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks have developed some intense rivalries over the years. Their rivalry with the St. Louis Blues is not only a fan favorite but significant to the history of both teams. It does not have the same historical significance as their rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings but is still up there as one of best in the league. Here are the highlights of the rivalry between the Hawks and the Blues.
How It Began
The St. Louis Blues entered the NHL after the 1967 expansion, which added six new teams to the league. The new teams were in a separate division from the Original Six so they would have a fair shot at winning a championship. The Blues played in the Stanley Cup Final each of their first three seasons but lost every time. They have not appeared in the Stanley Cup Final since. The Blues entered the same division as the Hawks in the 1970-71 season, and the battle of the most dominant team in the midwest began.
The rivalry reached its peak in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Both teams were experiencing massive success and were at a constant battle to the top of the Norris Division. The two teams met in the playoffs five times over the span of six seasons and the rivalry turned into pure hatred.
The rivalry began to simmer when Jeremy Roenick joined the Hawks in the 1988-89 season. During the first game of the 1989 Norris Division Final, Roenick was hit by a skate in the nose, lost all of his teeth in a fight during the third period and scored the game-winning goal.
“Playing against the Blues were battles,” said Roenick in the NBCSN documentary “NHL Rivals.” Roenick later confessed, “We always felt like we were the better team.”
The animosity between the players was intense. One infamous example was when Hawks goaltender Ed Belfour “trashed the Blues’ locker room” after a devastating loss in which the Blues clinched the division in 1993. Belfour never played in a regular-season game again against the Blues.
The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre
One game stands out more than others in the history of the Hawks-Blues Rivalry. The matchup took place on March 17, 1991, and was nicknamed the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre.” The game resulted in a “total of 278 penalty minutes; including 24 minor, 12 major and 17 misconduct penalties.”
The intensity of the game came from the two teams battling to win the President’s Trophy. The Hawks defeated the Blues 6-4 and ended up winning the President’s Trophy with a total of 106 regular season points.
Where It Stands Now
The rivalry simmered down for a while but reemerged in recent years. Both teams are among the elite in the Central Division and the battle for the top spot resumed. The two teams have not reached the same level of hatred that was present in the Roenick era, but there is plenty of hostility.
Before the Blues traded David Backes to Boston in the summer of 2016, he picked plenty of fights with the Hawks. Shortly before the 2010 Olympics, he purposefully picked a fight against Jonathan Toews. The Blackhawks captain isn’t one to drop the gloves, but it was a different story with Backes.
In the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Hawks faced the Blues. After Brent Seabrook delivered a nasty hit to Backes’ head in the second game of the series, Duncan Keith shouted, “wakey wakey Backes!” The animosity of Keith and Seabrook towards Backes mimicked the glory days of the rivalry.
The rivalry between the Hawks and Blues is far from over. Historically, both players and fans hold extreme hostility towards one another. The hatred is heating up, and fans can’t wait to see what happens next. If the Hawks and Blues face off in the playoffs this year, it will be a battle.
Illinois State University graduate and lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan. I also write for The Odyssey at Illinois State and Fans Talk Sports. Other than hockey, I love to write historical fiction and nonfiction.