CHICAGO – There’s no point in saying we’ve done this before, seen this before, or even… lived this before. The last time the Hawks came home to play the Blues, the United Center was as mad as it’s been since they took the sign down. The Hawks were down two games to none in the Western Conference Quarter finals and were in some serious need of the hometown love, support and atmosphere that only Chicago fans can provide. The roars throughout the anthem and the sheer anticipation of the entire situation was more than anyone could really handle – I don’t expect this evening to be anything different. This won’t be the first time this match-up has meant a little more to anyone and everyone than a simple regular season game. Tonight marks the second of five meetings this season between the solidified power houses in the Central Division of the Western Conference – if history was to ever prove itself – this Wednesday Night Rivalry shouldn’t disappoint.
”[Hawks] are the best team in the league and that’s clear through the first two months.” – Darryl Sutter
In the forty seven years that the Saint Louis Blues have been in the NHL with the Blackhawks, they’ve met for a total of three hundred and thirty six times – two hundred and eighty of which came in the regular season. Including the 1991 “Saint Patrick’s Day Massacre” which was donned its name after the two hundred and eighty seven penalty minutes assessed, and the most memorable of it all, the twelve ejections (six from each team) that occurred. Of those two hundred and eighty meetings in the regular season, the Blackhawks are a superior 135-103-42. But the real truth lies in the animosity that builds throughout game day in both cities and subsequently both locker rooms. There’s nothing regular about regular season games between the Hawks and the Blues. Ironically, the Blues have former Blackhawks owner James Norris to thank for their existence after he pushed through their expansion in 1966 before passing away. They entered the NHL officially in 1967 and of course, like any good business man, Norris’ family owned the Saint Louis Arena – where the Hawks future competition would call home. Even more amusing for the Blackhawk faithful and nauseating for Blues fans is their lack of hardware. In those forty seven years the Blues have accumulated only eight Division Championships and one President’s Trophy – all amounting to a total of ZERO Conference Championships and therefore, ZERO Stanley Cups. To make the Saint Louis Angst even more intense comes the hard to swallow fact – The Blues are the oldest club in the NHL to never won a Stanley Cup Championship. I’d sure trade all those Division Championships for even one shot at the Cup. But then again I’m not from Saint Louis, thank God, and the Hawks already possess the poorest regular season record for any Stanley Cup Champion to date – that was in 1938 when they went 11-25.
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When put in comparison to the Hawks Two Stanley Cups, three Conference Championships, two President’s Trophies, and fifteen Division titles (in the same amount of time) the Blues must feel like the Hawks awkward step brother – sent to live less than three hundred miles away, but close enough to still run home to mommy should they need to. Interestingly enough the Blues always seem to show up when they meet with Chicago, the same cannot be said for the Hawks – they seem to only show when they absolutely deem it necessary. Regardless, one thing that holds true for both these clubs is success, heart, determination and sheer dirty grit. When there’s only one winner in something, when just ONE bounce can change a team’s fate, any Stanley Cup Champion might not be the only exceptional or talented group in the league. If it were that way, let’s face it, it’d be more than boring – even for those playing for it.