The Chicago Blackhawks’ success is creating new enemies
Over the past decade, the Chicago Blackhawks have climbed to the top of the NHL mountain and have sustained a great amount of success. Since 2005, the new era of the NHL, the Blackhawks have had nine winning seasons, eight trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, six seasons of 100-plus points in the standings, five trips to the Western Conference finals and three Stanley Cup championships.
Problem is, you don’t get to have that kind of success without ruffling some feathers along the way. There are many ways in which a rivalry can be born or that can cause your blood to boil whenever you see your opposition.
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Proximity of cities, long-standing history, playoff battles, etc. It all creates for amazing action whenever two teams that despise each other step onto the ice.
So here are the top five current rivals of the Chicago Blackhawks.
5. Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks’ rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks has been born out of mutual success and their recent 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs battle, which was one for the ages.
Since 2005-06, the Ducks have been one of the top teams in the NHL’s Western Conference, having won the 2006-07 Stanley Cup, making five Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances under head coach Randy Carlyle from 2005-2012 and winning four straight Pacific Division titles under head coach Bruce Boudreau from 2013-2016.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, Stanley Cup Playoffs success hasn’t been in the cards, as Anaheim has been bounced out of the playoffs in the first round twice in the last four years and had its longest run in the playoffs cut short by none other than the Blackhawks.
In what has been one of the best Stanley Cup Playoffs matchups to watch in recent years, the Western Conference finals have sometimes surpassed the actual Stanley Cup Final in terms of on-ice action, storylines and general fan excitement and viewership.
The 2015 Western Conference finals between the Blackhawks and Ducks set the bar so high for the Stanley Cup Final that year, that the Blackhawks eventually defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning almost became an afterthought. That’s how intense the Ducks-Blackhawks series was, and that animosity spilled over into last season. No doubt that these two teams are not finished with each other yet.
Next: No. 4: The State of Hockey