Jan 29, 2014; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) scores against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
True rivalries in the NHL are not hard to come by. In fact, they absolutely abound, if you believe NBC’s Rivalry Night game picks. But even with all of the rivalries scattered throughout the league, one of the most recognized is the animosity between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, Chicago has bitter rivalries with a few teams, but the contention with Vancouver has come to the forefront in the last 5 years.
The rivalry took a bit of a back seat behind the St. Louis Blues last season, mostly because the Canucks trailed in the Western Conference with a 36-35-11 record and fell out of a playoff spot well before the end of the season. They went 1-0-2 against Chicago with their win coming in a shootout in December.
Like many other teams, Vancouver is looking to rebuild and has made a few changes to improve offense, defense, and coaching – just those few areas. One of the bigger changes has been the addition of Goaltender Ryan Miller from the St. Louis Blues and formerly the Buffalo Sabres. Chicago’s rivals seem to think that Miller is the missing piece to their puzzle of a team, but that didn’t work out so well for the Blues who have been a very strong team recently. The difference with Vancouver is that they have made other roster changes and aren’t putting on Miller the pressure of immediate success.
Along with a few other trades, the Canucks also traded Center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for younger Center Nick Bonino. Just 3 or 4 more trades like this and Blackhawks fans might have to find new Canucks to despise, which, if Vancouver’s rebuild is successful in the next few years, shouldn’t be too hard.
What do you think? Will the Canucks still be one of the Blackhawks most heated rivals next season?