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Chicago Blackhawks: Top Post-Lockout Rivals, Part I

By Colin Likas
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Feb 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Andrew Shaw

(C) and Florida Panthers defenseman

Alex Petrovic

(72) collide in front of goalie

Roberto Luongo

(1) in the second period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9: Florida Panthers

Blackhawks’ record against since 2005: 9-2-2

Past irritants: Todd Bertuzzi

Current irritants: Alex Petrovic, Willie Mitchell, Shane O’Brien, Shawn Thornton

This is not a traditional pick, I’ll admit. Not-so-affectionately referred to as Blackhawks South, the real Blackhawks have rolled over these guys in recent years. But, as was said in the Wild entry on this list, it just takes one play to get things sparked up.

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Petrovic’s injury-causing check on Patrick Kane during one of the teams’ two regular-season meetings last year could do just that. Hockey players have long memories, and no matter what happens with Kane this offseason, his teammates (the ones that are still around, anyway) aren’t going to easily forget seeing one of the team’s star players slowly skating off the ice doubled over in pain.

On top of that, you’ve got quite a few young players trying to make a name for themselves in Florida, while that will also be the case in Chicago this season. There could be some level of a rivalry created from that (Brandon Pirri might shoot Marko Dano a sideways look or two). Plus, any team that has Mitchell, O’Brien and Thornton on it can be good for an irritation-based rivalry.

As a side note, this squad had some pretty irritating players on it back when the Western Conference hardly faced the Eastern Conference. Future annoying Vancouver Canucks Tanner Glass, Bryan Allen and Keith Ballard are former Panthers. Could’ve been some fun back then.

Next: Who's No. 8?

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