Blackhawks–Blues rivalry

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Blackhawks–Blues rivalry
First Meeting November 12, 1967
First Result CHI, 5–2
Location Chicago Stadium
Last Meeting April 27, 2014
Last Result CHI, 5–1
Location United Center
Next Meeting TBA
Location TBA
Number of Meetings 336
Regular Season Meetings 280
All-Time Series CHI, 167–127–42
Regular Season Series CHI, 135–103–42
Post Season History
Playoff Meetings 56, CHI, 32–24
Playoff Series 11, CHI, 8–3
1973 Quarterfinals Chicago, 4–1
1980 Preliminary Round Chicago, 3–0
1982 Norris Division Finals Chicago, 4–2
1983 Norris Division Semifinals Chicago, 3–1
1988 Norris Division Semifinals St. Louis, 4–1
1989 Norris Division Finals Chicago, 4–1
1990 Norris Division Finals Chicago, 4–3
1992 Norris Division Semifinals Chicago, 4–2
1993 Norris Division Semifinals St. Louis, 4–0
2002 Western Conference Quarterfinals St. Louis, 4–1
2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals Chicago, 4–2

The Blackhawks–Blues rivalry features two teams in the Central Division of the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. Since 1970, the two teams have been in the same division together.[1] It is the most intense rivalry in terms of penalty minutes and fighting,[1] and at the height of the rivalry during the Norris Division days, it was common to go to a Chicago vs. St. Louis game and see a brawl break out.[1]

Since the move of the Detroit Red Wings to the Eastern Conference, this rivalry is considered the top divisional rivalry for both teams.

Background[edit]

The Blackhawks are an Original Six team, while the Blues entered play in the 1967 expansion. The long-standing bitter rivalry between sports fans from Chicago and St. Louis, which are separated by 300 miles, as seen in the Cardinals–Cubs rivalry in Major League Baseball, has led to the Blackhawks and Blues to have an intense hatred for each other. The two teams have been in the same division since 1970 (Western 1970–74, Smythe 1974–81, Norris 1981–93, Central 1993–present). They also qualified for the playoffs together every season from 1980 to 1997. Every Norris Division Final from 1982 to 1993 involved either the Blackhawks or Blues, or both teams. The only year that neither team was in the division final was 1987, when the Detroit Red Wings faced the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The rivalry caught fire in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when both teams had well-known stars such as Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Ed Belfour for the Hawks and Brett Hull, Adam Oates and Curtis Joseph for the Blues and played in old arenas (St. Louis Arena and Chicago Stadium) that were regarded as two of the loudest in the league. In fact, both were built in 1929. In 1994, both teams moved into new buildings. The Blackhawks moved across the street to the United Center, while the Blues moved into the Kiel Center.

All six Sutter Brothers would either play for the Blackhawks or Blues. In fact, both Sutter left wingers Darryl and Brian has spent the entire careers with Chicago and St. Louis respectively. They would also become head coaches for the teams that they played. Brian Sutter would also coach the Blackhawks for a short time. He won the Jack Adams Award with the Blues in 1991, and was the runner-up in 2002 with the Blackhawks. Duane, and Brent would also play and end their careers with the Blackhawks although they never played together with Chicago. Twins Ron and Rich would play together at one point with the Blues when Ron got traded in 1992. Also, Rich is the only Sutter brother to play for the Blackhawks and Blues. This often created a brother vs. brother match-up not only in the playoffs, but as well in the season division battles that both teams got involved in.

Notable moments[edit]

One notable moment in the rivalry was the 1991 season. Both teams not only battled for the Norris Division, but the top seed in the Campbell Conference and Presidents' Trophy. It came down to the wire on the last day of the season when the Blackhawks took all 3 crowns by a point with a win against the Red Wings, even though the Blues won their last game. St. Louis sat in the 2nd overall spot in the entire NHL with 105 points, while Chicago had 106 points. Both teams were expected to meet in the Norris Division Final. But the Minnesota North Stars upset the Blackhawks in the Semifinal and the Blues in the Final, making it the 2nd and 3rd largest upsets respectively in NHL history in points.

Perhaps the defining moment in that same season came in a brawl during the Blackhawks' 6–4 win over the Blues.[1][2] The game became known as the "St. Patrick's Day Massacre" for the massive amount of fighting and penalties handed out to both teams, and the fact that it was held on St. Patricks day.[2][3] In the game, the two teams, got into a brawl after Glen Featherstone shoved Jeremy Roenick after his hard hit on Harold Snepsts. Keith Brown shoved Featherstone, beginning a brawl.[3] Twelve players, six on each team, were ejected, while there was a total of 278 penalty minutes.[2][3] After reviewing the tapes, the NHL suspended Blues defenseman Scott Stevens for two games, and Hawks Mike Peluso and Blues Kelly Chase each for 10 games and fined both teams $10,000 each.[4]

The following year in the Norris Division Semifinal: The Sutter Brothers squared off in this playoff series. Twins Ron, and Rich were on the Blues as players, while Brian was the head coach. While the Blackhawks had Brent as the player, Darryl was the Assistant coach of the team, and Duane was a scout. Although the Blues took the first two out of the three games the Blackhawks would win the rest of the series which began a playoff streak of 11 straight games, and their run to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.

The Blues finally got revenge on the Hawks after 3 playoff defeats in 4 years; They swept the Hawks in overtime by Craig Janney. Belfour, who said he had been interfered with on the goal by Janney, went on to cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to the visitors' dressing room at the Arena, breaking a coffeemaker, hot tub and television among other objects.

The Blackhawks and Blues were also fierce rivals in the Norris Division along with the Minnesota North Stars, a three-way rivalry that was among the most heated, if not the most heated, in the NHL. In fact, it could have been argued that all five members of the classic Norris Division (Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Detroit, and Toronto) were mortal enemies. It was renewed in 2013, when the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars moved into the Central Division.

Recent developments[edit]

With the rise of the Hawks and Blues back into prominence in the early 2010s, the rivalry heated up once again. The Hawks beat the Blues in the opening round of the 2014 Playoffs 4–2.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Browning, William (October 13, 2010). "First person fan smack talk: Chicago Blackhawks no comparison to St. Louis Blues". Yahoo!. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Kiley, Mike (March 18, 1991). "Hawks Bash Blues in Battle Royal". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b c Luecking, Dave (March 18, 1991). "'Hawks Win Bloody Fight ... 12 Ejected In 6-4 Loss". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1C. 
  4. ^ Kiley, Mike (March 22, 1991). "NHL Suspends Peluso; Blues' Sentence Irks Keenan". Chicago Tribune. p. 5.