Rivalries are one of the more exciting things in professional sports. No matter how they gain their origin or how they stay alive, they always offer fans on either side an extra rallying cry when two teams meet. The NHL has its fair share of rivalries across the board, but what are the best ones involving our Chicago Blackhawks?
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We’re going to look at the Blackhawks’ fiercest post-lockout (2004-05, not 2012) rivalries in a two-part post. So, unfortunately, the Minnesota North Stars won’t make the cut here. Fans of several teams in the league feel their squad is a rival of the Blackhawks, mostly because of playoff showdowns or because there was one game between the squads with many penalty minutes. But the men in the Indian Head really don’t have a bunch of duke-it-out rivals like some of the Eastern Conference teams.
Still, I think we can come up with a solid list of the top 10 Blackhawks rivals in the post-lockout era. Let’s look at the first five:
May 9, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forwardMatt Cooke
(24) and Chicago Blackhawks forwardBrandon Bollig
(52) are separated by a referee during the first period in game four of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
No. 10: Minnesota Wild
Blackhawks’ record against since 2005: 31-18-7 (includes playoffs)
Past irritants: Clayton Stoner
Current irritants: Matt Cooke
I don’t believe the Wild are a traditional rival wherein you hate their guts or respect but want to destroy them each time out. I’ve made it abundantly clear through my Blackhawks postseason wins countdown that I feel next to nothing when it comes to talking about the Minnesota outfit. The Wild bore me.
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Still, we’ll see a lot more of them as long as they don’t get tossed out of the Central in the next division realignment. Three consecutive playoff series between the teams can’t be ignored, though they were filled with more skill than grit (skill can create rivalries too). Familiarity often breeds contempt in a professional sports setting, and it could take just one awkward hit or Minnesota having had enough of Chicago rolling over it in recent years for this thing to get wild (pun intended), like Blackhawks-North Stars games of the past.
As long as Cooke is on the team, though, we’ll at least have someone to boo at from the rafters. Although he is currently a free agent, so our list of current irritants may be down to … Erik Haula? Because he was the only one who could score for Minnesota in the 2014 postseason series? That’s depressing.
Next: Who's No. 9?
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