This Saturday Dec. 28th, 2013 the Chicago Blackhawks will invade The Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Way back in the day this was like a holiday in St. Louis. While the Blackhawk fan still come in droves from up north, the atmosphere just doesn’t feel the same. There is less hoopla over this matchup than one would expect. Both the Blues and Blackhawks are battling for top dog, not only in the Western Conference, but in all of the NHL. You would think that alone would drive of the ire between the rival fans, but at least in the Lou these games take a backseat to games versus the San Jose Sharks or the LA Kings. The beef with the Kings I get. The Note has been bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs the last two years by the monarchy from out west so that is reason alone to despise them. Doesn’t anyone realize whom the Blues are chasing? Do they not remember who won the Cup last year and if all goes well could be raising it again this summer. The Blackhawks are dynamic and are on the verge of being dynastic. Look you can’t spell dynasty without being nasty and it is about time this rivalry kicks it up a notch. Be sure to pick up Blackhawks tickets yourself to take part first hand in the rivalry.
Changes of Venue
There are many circumstances as to why this rivalry died down for sometime. First and foremost were the new arenas that both organizations moved into. The Blues moved out of the St. Louis Arena and into there new home in 1994. The Blackhawks were displaced from Chicago Stadium after the 1994 season. Both new venues were state of the art at the time, but both lacked that fan proximity that made both of the old homes so intimidating. Fans of both the Blues and Blackhawks were rumored to say they could feel the buildings shake at times. With the recent success of both organizations some of that fury has returned. Both teams have fans that travel well so the rivalry is on its way back.
The Detroit Red Wing Effect
Throughout there time in the Central division both the Blues and Blackhawks took turns trying to run down the leader of the pack, the Detroit Red Wings. The effort and the nastiness that ensued led both teams to develop and overwhelming rivalry with the Red Wings. It didn’t help that the Wings were the class of the Central, finishing either first or second from the 1991-1992 season up until a 3rd place finish in 2011-2012. That’s a lot of years of the coyote chasing down the roadrunner. During that time it seemed as the Blues forgot about the Blackhawks in their effort to clip the Wings. Well with the Detroit Red Wings now in the Eastern Conference, the two teams can now get reacquainted.
Villians, We Need more Villians
Back in the heyday of the Blues versus Blackhawk rivalry there were names like Al Secord, Dave Manson, Bob Probert whose prowess with fists made them wanted men. Then you had
players like Denis Savard, Jeremy Roenick, and Chris Chelios who got under your skin not only by antagonizing but also by a tremendous amount of skill. If Blues fans are looking for enemies to spice up their Blues – Blackhawks rivalry they need look no further than the top of the scoresheet. First there is Jonathan Toews. He is the Hawks version of David Backes. His play on the ice belies his quiet soft- spoken nature. He is like Carbon monoxide, a silent assassin of sorts, who like Backes will do any and everything to will his team to victory. If that doesn’t work for you, try Patrick Kane on for size. Think TJ Oshie, but with even better skills. Two guys who look like they should be in the latest boy band rather than dominating on the rink.
With skill, speed, and aggressiveness, both the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks are primed to reignite this rivalry. Bragging rights for top of the NHL are riding between these two long time foes. Hopefully we will see that one huge hit, that prolonged scrap, or that one individual, highlight reel effort that brings this rivalry back to the forefront, where it belongs.
St Louis Blues insider for MakinThePlay.com and guest host of MakinThePlay.com, formerly on SEMOESPN, in process of finding new home. Longtime follower of St. Louis Blues and the greatest sport on ice.