Detroit Red Wings: 10 Most Vicious Rivals in the NHL
The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. For the last 20 years, the Red Wings haven't missed the playoffs, a feat that is more than double any other active consecutive playoff appearances streak in any of the other big four American sports.
With this success has come a lot of rivals for the Red Wings. Whether it be players or teams, the Red Wings have their enemies just like any other sports organization.
Some rivalries have been taking place for over 70 years, while others are brand new. So with that, here are the Red Wings' top 10 most vicious rivals in the NHL.
Honorable Mention: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets get an honorable mention as one of Detroit's rivals. Since their inception in the league in 2000, the Blue Jackets have been rivals with the Red Wings in the Central Division.
Although Columbus has never really challenged the Red Wings for the division title, the two have had some fierce battles in the past.
This season, in only three games, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets have racked up 81 penalty minutes against each other. Both teams average more penalties against each other than they do overall this season.
Although they've only met one time in the playoffs, when the Red Wings swept the Blue Jackets, it should be interesting to see where the rivalry goes from here.
10. Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings have a divisional rivalry that could become very interesting in the next few years. The Predators have a pair of superstar defenders who both become free agents this year (Shea Weber is restricted until next year).
Both Weber and Ryan Suter want to see more from the organization to prove they can win a Stanley Cup. If neither of them see that, it may not bode well for the Predators.
The Red Wings have a lot of cap space opening up and open space in their defensive lineup that they'd love to fill with Weber, Suter, or both, now that Nicklas Lidstrom's career is coming to a close.
It should be interesting to see what happens with that situation, and hockey fans should keep an eye on talks with Weber and Suter.
9. New York Rangers
The rivalry between the New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings may seem like it's cooled down over the past decade or so, but with the Rangers back in contention, you can expect it to heat back up.
Obviously, any Original Six matchup is sure to garner some hate between fanbases, and the Rangers and Red Wings are no different.
With both teams resting on top of their respective conferences, they now compete for the Presidents' Trophy.
Certainly, nobody could complain about seeing these two teams in the Stanley Cup Finals.
8. Corey Perry
This commercial is one of the brighter spots in Corey Perry's relationship with the Detroit Red Wings.
Let's just say, when you manage to get Pavel Datsyuk to drop the gloves, you can consider yourself a legitimate rival.
Perry has met with the Red Wings in two different playoff series. He won the first with the Anaheim Ducks, which resulted in a Stanley Cup victory.
In the second series, the Red Wings defeated the Ducks before going on to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.
7. Sidney Crosby
People can say the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins have a rivalry, but that simply just isn't the case. Anybody who has watched the games between the Red Wings and Penguins over the last two years knows that something has been missing.
That something has been Sidney Crosby.
The Red Wings, like many fans, strongly dislike Crosby, mostly for incidents like the one shown in the video.
This rivalry began when the Red Wings and Penguins met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009, and unfortunately, the Red Wings and Crosby haven't seen each other in a long time.
If Crosby manages to return to hockey, he wont have faced the Red Wings in nearly three years.
6. Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings have provided fans with some very entertaining matchups over the last few years. Although the Red Wings have a strong edge in victories, that doesn't mean the games haven't been close.
The two teams met in the first ever Thanksgiving Showdown earlier this season, with the Red Wings barely coming out with a shootout victory.
Many fans and experts alike are predicting a Bruins vs. Red Wings Stanley Cup Final as the likely matchup this June. Obviously, this would be a great matchup for the NHL and for hockey fans everywhere.
5. Montreal Canadiens
While the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are both not very physical teams, they still have a recognizable rivalry with each other.
The history of both teams is enough to call them rivals forever. Both teams are Original Six squads, and they've met each other five times in the Stanley Cup Finals, despite the last meeting being 46 years ago.
Four of those matchups occurred within a five-year span. No matter the success of each team, the Red Wings' games against the Canadiens are an instant sellout, and fans love to see the two teams battle.
4. San Jose Sharks
The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks have grown a rivalry over the past two years that may be one of the biggest non-divisional rivalries in the league.
The Sharks and Wings have met in the conference semifinals for the last two consecutive years, with the Sharks taking both series despite being outscored both years.
In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Sharks surrendered a 3-0 series lead to the Red Wings, nearly giving them the four-game comeback.
Needless to say, after two years of hard-fought playoff series, these teams don't like each other. They probably wouldn't mind not seeing each other again, either.
3. St. Louis Blues
With the newfound success of the St. Louis Blues, this rivalry has heated up quickly in just a few short months.
Before the season started, the Blues/Red Wings rivalry never would've made the top five rivals. After five meetings between the two teams this season, with most of the games being close in scoring, the two teams have a combined for 185 penalty minutes.
That's an average of 37 penalty minutes each game—much higher than either team normally averages. The hitting between the two teams is also much higher than it is against other teams.
Currently, the Red Wings and Blues are neck and neck in the fight for the Central Division and could very well meet each other in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
Up until 2007, the Chicago Blackhawks were an afterthought in the Central Division. No more, however, as the Blackhawks have fought with the Detroit Red Wings for the Central title over the last few years.
They even ended Detroit's eight-year Central reign in 2010, when they went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Anybody who even casually watches hockey knows that this is one of the biggest rivalries in hockey today, and in hockey history altogether.
Both teams are a part of the Original Six, and they most recently met each other in the playoffs in 2009, when the Red Wings won the series, 4-1.
The NHL has shown that it has no intention of breaking up the rivalry, as it kept them together in the radical realignment plan that was rejected by the NHLPA.
Although the realignment was rejected, the plan shows that the NHL is interested in keeping Detroit and Chicago together in the future.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Pre-lockout fans shouldn't be surprised. Although they were separated via realignment in 1998, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings have never stopped hating each other.
The Leafs and Red Wings have met in the Stanley Cup Finals a remarkable seven times in the history of the NHL. It's worth noting that the Red Wings have only beaten the Leafs in the Finals once.
Toronto was the first NHL team to ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win a series, which they did in 1942 to win the Stanley Cup.
That sort of comeback has only been achieved three times in NHL history, and the Leafs are the only NHL team to have ever come back to win in the championship series.
If there was any sign that this rivalry may be fading, it'll be wiped away soon. On January 1st, 2013, the Leafs will visit the Red Wings in the first ever NHL Winter Classic featuring a Canadian team.
What's sure to be a record-setting game will remind fans of who the Red Wings' biggest rival is in the NHL.
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Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. You can read Jordan's recent articles below:
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