Whenever the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face-off, the games are more physical and chippy than an average regular season game on the NHL schedule. It's quite possible that these two Western Conference Central division teams are more than just teams — they're rivals.
As far as I can remember, the Blackhawks and Blues weren't much of a rival much before 2010, the year the Hawks were Stanley Cup champions. Maybe that's because of the trash-talking from former Hawks, such as Adam Burish and Ben Eager, two players who were known for their dirty antics on the ice.
Maybe this rivalry has developed because of more than just words being exchanged between the two parties, but maybe it's because one is jealous of the success the other has achieved over the last few years.
In 2006, St. Louis had the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, and the Hawks had the third. St. Louis selected Erik Johnson, an American defenseman, with the first overall pick, and Chicago selected Jonathan Toews, a Canadian center.
Johnson didn't have the most success with the Blues and was traded to the Colorado Avalanche midway through the 2010-11 season. Toews has been with the Hawks his entire NHL career and has already hoisted the Stanley Cup.
I sense a bit of jealousy from St. Louis, but I don't blame them.
There aren't many players in sports these days that stay loyal to the franchise that drafted them like Jonathan Toews has done with Chicago. And Chicago, as well as Toews have been rewarded accordingly with a Stanley Cup championship —something the Blues have never been able to accomplish in the history of the franchise.
So, is there a rivalry between the Blackhawks and Blues? The answer to that question is yes. Every game between the two teams is a battle, and neither team is satisfied unless two points are tallied in their standings at the end of the night.
The competition between Chicago and St. Louis when they play each other is evident, and so is the hatred. Until one of these two teams fails to show up against the other on a regular basis, there will be a rivalry.
This rivalry may not be like the Chicago, Detroit rivalry, or more recently Chicago, Vancouver rivalry, but that's because it's a different. One team, the Blackhawks, have something the other team, St. Louis, wants. At this rate, that may never change.