Chicago Blackhawks: Ranking the Blackhawks' Top Rivalries
Some are old, going back to the days of the Original Six and the Norris Division. Some are new, formed during the new resurgence of the Blackhawks as an NHL power which began in 2009.
Let's take a look at the best current rivalries that the Blackhawks are involved in.
7. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens are the Blackhawks' top Eastern Conference Original Six rival due to several great series in the days of the Original Six.
They met three times in the Stanley Cup Final (1965, 1971 and 1973), with Montreal winning each time. Nevertheless, they put up some memorable series.
This rivalry has not been very eventful as of late, but many would agree that it was one of the best from the Original Six days and has a lot of historic importance.
6. Philadelphia Flyers
This rivalry basically stems from the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. Not all Stanley Cup matchups turn into rivalries, and this isn't exactly a heated rivalry, but there is a little bit of tension between the teams because of how past moves have ended up.
For example, the Flyers traded Patrick Sharp to the Blackhawks several years back for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick. They then went on to watch him become one of the top players on the team that beat them in the Stanley Cup Final.
Then, in 2007, the Flyers finished with easily the worst record in the NHL. The Blackhawks, however, won the draft lottery and selected Patrick Kane with the first overall pick. The Flyers watched as Kane scored the Cup-winning overtime goal in Game 6.
5. Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes are the most recent team to have faced the Blackhawks in a playoff series, knocking Chicago out in six games in one of the best series from the 2012 playoffs.
The first five games went to overtime.
Many rivalries are sparked by one hit, fight or moment. This is no exception, as the Raffi Torres hit on Chicago star Marian Hossa may springboard this to one of the more bloody rivalries in hockey if both teams continue to be among the league's better clubs for the coming years.
4. Nashville Predators
The Predators and Blackhawks have put together quite a good division rivalry. They have both been consistent contenders over the past few years, and they provided one of the most exciting playoff series of 2010 in the first round.
In fact, it could be argued that the Predators were Chicago's toughest roadblock on their way to the Cup. Nashville nearly took a three-games-to-two series lead in Game 5 in Chicago, as they held a one-goal lead late in the third while Marian Hossa was handed a five minute major. The Blackhawks pulled their goalie in the final minute to make it five-on-five, and scored in the waning seconds of regulation.
In overtime, Hossa scored the winner.
3. St. Louis Blues
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was not a better rivalry in hockey than Chicago and St. Louis. They met five out of six years from 1988 through 1993 in the postseason, providing some classic battles.
The rivalry was shortly revived in 2002, when the inconsistent Blackhawks made a playoff date with the Blues in what would be their last playoff series until 2009.
Now that the Blues and Blackhawks are two of the league's top teams, expect this rivalry to take off again and become one of the best in hockey.
2. Detroit Red Wings
This heated Original Six rivalry has lasted for decades. Chicago and Detroit are top rivals in every single Big Four sport, and the one that exists in hockey may be the best of them all.
The fights that existed between these teams in the 1980s during the Norris Division could be considered some of the greatest hockey brawls of all time, and every game between the two still has a little extra intensity.
The rivalry took off once again during the Hawks' resurgence in 2009, as these two met each other in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field and then again in the Western Conference Final.
This is easily one of the top-five rivalries in the game today, as it features two of the league's best teams and some of the league's most talented players.
1. Vancouver Canucks
Three heated playoff series in three years, including coaches and players battling on and off the ice as well as a seventh-game overtime thriller and consistent brawls in the regular season and postseason.
How could this not be No. 1?
This is arguably the best rivalry in hockey, right up there with Flyers-Penguins and Rangers-Devils. It is a matchup that hockey fans can't get enough of, and some had an empty feeling during this past spring as it was the first one since 2008 that they hadn't met in the postseason.
One can only hope that they meet again, as the rivalry will still be as good as ever in 2012-13.