Chicago Blackhawks: Top Post-Lockout Rivals, Part II

By Colin Likas
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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. We took a look at Nos. 10-5 on this list on Saturday, and now we’re going to move on to the top five teams — those that generate the most passion from fans when the Blackhawks meet them, the most frustration at losses and pride at wins in their matchups.

I said in my previous post that the Blackhawks don’t have many duke-it-out rivals, as some teams in the Eastern Conference do. But the Blackhawks have had their fair share of skirmishes with these top five teams. So let’s round out this list.

Apr 23, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Andrew Shaw

(65) hits Nashville Predators defenseman

Seth Jones

(3) during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5: Nashville Predators

Blackhawks’ record against since 2005: 40-28-6 (includes playoffs)

Past irritants: Jason Arnott, Jordin Tootoo, Vernon Fiddler, Shane O’Brien

Current irritants: Mike Ribeiro, people who run and operate Bridgestone Arena

Among Western Conference teams in the previous post, we discussed Minnesota, Dallas, Colorado and Los Angeles. Three of them have been divisional rivals for just two seasons, while the Kings are only a conference foe. Now we’re getting into the old Central Division, starting with the Nashville Predators.

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Sure, you could call Pekka Rinne irritating, but the guy is just good. Mike Ribeiro is always annoying because of his on-ice antics and off-ice reputation. But it does seem like a lot of the elements for this rivalry have moved on.

Two things propel this matchup up the rivalry list. First, the playoff series between these teams since the 2004-05 lockout — both first-rounders in years the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup (2010 and 2015) — could have wound up so much differently. What I mean to say is, the Predators could have knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs twice before the latter even had a chance at sniffing the Cup, and Joel Quenneville‘s guys got away. That certainly breeds some contempt in the Nashville camp, and constant meetings between the teams in the regular season do nothing to dilute that.

The second thing started off bordering on ridiculous but is now well beyond that realm. Those who aren’t on the ice night after night for this team have given the organization a bizarre little-brother complex when it comes to facing Chicago. Efforts to keep Blackhawks fans out of Bridgestone Arena have been consistent, but always failures. Efforts to keep the fans from cheering the national anthem were pathetically employed during the 2015 playoffs, and the only thing they succeeding in doing was making the Predators look insanely paranoid.

So guys you don’t see skating around or standing behind the bench are fueling this rivalry in a big way. It’s strange, but that’s hockey for you.

Next: Who's No. 4?

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