The Chicago Blackhawks have some of the most historic rivalries in National Hockey League history. Although many of them are in the past, the Hawks have earned plenty of enemies in the past decade with their three Stanley Cups in six seasons.
Here are the top three current rivals of the Blackhawks.
St. Louis Blues
Although it can be argued that this is a historic rivalry, the strife between the Hawks and Blues is alive and well today. Alongside the Red Wings, the Blues are considered to be one of the Hawks’ greatest foes. The Blues are the enemy now, and Hawks fans love it.
Patrick Kane agrees as he told Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times, “I think it’s great. In the past, you could say Detroit was our No. 1 rival, but that’s probably kind of faded away since they moved to the [Eastern Conference]. You see it growing with St. Louis because they are in our division. We’ve had a couple of playoff series against them. There are some hatred and animosity there between the two cities, the fans, players, whatever you want to say. It’s definitely grown.”
The Hawks and Blues have met in the playoffs several times, but the perfect example of the rivalry took place in round one of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Former Hawk Troy Brouwer destroyed Chicago’s hopes of repeating as champions when he scored the game-winning goal in Game 7.
Despite the animosity on the ice, the tension disappears off the ice. Former Blues captain David Backes told the Chicago Tribune back in 2014, “One of the special things about this game is there is a respect factor that needs to be there to preserve safety and have a hard competition on the ice but off the ice be able to shake hands, have a cold drink and reminisce about the great battle you had.”
Near the end of the 2017-18 season when the Hawks were out of playoff contention, they had one mission: ruin the Blues’ playoff chances. The Blues were close to the final wild-card spot of the Western Conference, and the Hawks had the opportunity to knock them out of the playoffs.
Kane told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘It’d be nice to see them miss the playoffs,’’ winger Patrick Kane said. ‘‘So it would be nice to have a hand in that.’’
Although it took the Blues’ final game of the season against the Colorado Avalanche to seal their fate, the Hawks still played a role in it. This goes to show that no matter what, there will always be hatred between these two teams.
Los Angeles Kings
The roots of this strife can be traced back to the 70’s, though the most prominent era of this rivalry has been recent. Since 2010, the Hawks and Kings have five Stanley Cups between them; three for the Hawks and two for the Kings. The two teams faced each other two years in a row in the 2013 and 2014 Western Conference Final. The winner of each series won the Stanley Cup Final that year.
In 2013, the Kings were trying to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions when the Hawks and Patrick Kane erased their chances in double-overtime in Game 5. In 2014, the Hawks were trying to repeat themselves, but their hopes were crushed when Alec Martinez scored in overtime of Game 7.
Despite the tension between the two teams, there is little to no bad blood. Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reported in 2015 that the rivalry is “of respect, not hatred.”
Darryl Sutter, the Kings head coach at the time, told Dillman:
“I look at it more as four of the last five Cups are those two teams. I wouldn’t say it’s a rivalry in terms of bitter, it’s a rivalry because of respect.”
Patrick Sharp of the Hawks told Dillman, “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of hatred,” Sharp said. “I think there’s a lot of respect on both sides. I think both teams respect what each other’s accomplished. Once you’ve been through the grind a few times, you really appreciate what a team can do to win two championships in recent times.”
Although their rivalry isn’t as bitter as the others, it’s still one for the ages, and the two teams are always exciting to watch when they face off.
The rivalry with the Predators is slightly different. There is plenty of tension between players and history to make these teams hate each other, but that’s not the core of the animosity.
Like the Blues and the Kings, there is still some respect among players. P.K. Subban spoke to Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times when he was traded to the Predators,“Chicago’s a great team,” he said. “It’s been definitely a growing rivalry in the league and obviously I’ve played in games like this before — Montreal and Boston. But for me, it’s just a start of a new season. I look forward to comparing the rivalries, for sure, from East to West.”
Jonathan Toews even gave the Predators credit when they swept them in the first round of the 2017 playoffs. He told Lazerus:
“I think it’s insulting to not give that team credit for how well they played, and how they played us specifically,” Toews said. “They were relentless.”
The real beef is among the fans. Go on Twitter when these teams meet, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. These two fan bases hate each other. From Nashville-based publications writing about how their fans are better than Hawks fans to brawls at games, the animosity makes for a pretty entertaining rivalry.
The Blackhawks have made plenty of enemies as they’ve dominated the NHL this past decade. Some are pure hatred, some are based out of respect, and some are mainly between fans. Either way, they make for some of the most captivating rivalries in the league.