The greatest rivals of the Chicago Blackhawks are the Detroit Red Wings. Everyone knows that, even new Blackhawks fans. But the most hated rivals of the Blackhawks are the Vancouver Canucks. Both old and new fans know that. It’s a rivalry that new Blackhawk fans feel more than the Detroit rivalry, and one that leans on emotion more than tradition. There are a couple key differences between the Red Wings rivalry and the Canucks rivalry with the Blackhawks.
As mentioned before, the Red Wings rivalry is based on tradition. Detroit and Chicago have a long history of rivalries, and their NHL version began the Blackhawks first year in the league, 1926. They have played 16 series’ in the playoffs beginning in 1934. The Canucks rivalry started heating up in recent years with all of the meetings between the two teams in the playoffs and the… less than clean games in the regular season.
Because the Detroit rivalry is grounded in history and tradition, there is an underlying respect between the Red Wings and Blackhawks. There has been some pushing and shoving and quite a few heated moments but both teams usually come out on the other side with respect for the other team’s work ethic and success.
Not as much can be said about the Canucks rivalry. There are games filled with mostly heated moments and times where fans would rather see an all-out brawl if it didn’t mean the Canucks taking cheap shots at our players. Then again, it can be a little fun to watch the Canucks make themselves look cheap in front of their own fans.
Finally, my own feelings about the Canucks began before my love of the Blackhawks. If you first learned about the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with the Boston Bruins, you would have learned to hate them right then. I didn’t know that they had beaten my soon-to-be favorite team in Game 7 overtime earlier in the playoffs, but their style of hockey and excuses later would give anyone a reason to root against them.
A new fan’s introduction to the Red Wings went a little differently. It was definitely more subdued with the climax of all recent Red Wings/Blackhawks moments coming in the 2013 playoff series between the two teams. Even after that dramatic 7 game series, both teams and fans walked away with respect and no excuses, just a lot of good hockey.
What other differences do you see between the Red Wings and Canucks rivalries with the Blackhawks?