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Chicago Blackhawks: Top Post-Lockout Rivals, Part II

By Colin Likas
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Jan 29, 2014; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward

Brandon Bollig

(52) checks Vancouver Canucks defenseman

Kevin Bieksa

(3) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2: Vancouver Canucks

Blackhawks’ record against since 2005: 25-24-7 (includes playoffs)

Past irritants: Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler, Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres, Andrew Alberts, Shane O’Brien, Tanner Glass, Willie Mitchell

Current irritants: Alexandre Burrows, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Zack Kassian

Remember the lack of readily apparent irritants we had with Winnipeg? That issue doesn’t exist with the Vancouver Canucks.

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Yes, this rivalry has cooled as players from both sides have been siphoned off — from the Blackhawks because of Cup wins and the salary cap, from the Canucks because they can’t figure out how to win anything other than the President’s Trophy. But this was arguably the hottest rivalry going in the NHL between 2008 and 2011.

There was the hair-pulling incident featuring Burrows and Duncan Keith in 2009, created by Byfuglien giving Roberto Luongo a forearm shiver that nobody saw but Luongo and an official. Ben Eager beat the daylights out of Bieksa, and no love was lost. The teams met in the playoffs later that year and combined for 218 penalty minutes in six games. The Blackhawks won that series.

Kesler called Andrew Ladd a coward in 2010. The teams met again in the playoffs that year and combined for a much more tame 150 penalty minutes in six games. The Blackhawks won that series, too. The teams met once more in the 2011 playoffs, in which the Canucks went up 3-0 and needed seven games to dispatch the Blackhawks.

Daniel Carcillo debuted with the Blackhawks in 2011 and called out the “Sedin Sisters,” and then-Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault pretty much called Carcillo ugly in response.

So there’s your history of this rivalry. And the reason for its generation is pretty straightforward. At its height, the Canucks were a group of chippy guys who were easily irritated and thrown for a loop when things didn’t go their way. The Blackhawks had some chippy guys of their own (Byfuglien, Eager, Dave Bolland, Adam Burish) who were willing to start and finish extracurriculars, but there were others (like Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, etc.) who showed enough composure and just rolled through the scrums. On top of all this, you had two teams that were in good-to-great positioning to win some Stanley Cups.

This rivalry was an absolute blast when it was hot. Could it come back? Potentially. But it may never get as good as it was during the trio of playoff series between these squads.

Next: Who's No. 1?

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