Now that the Red Wings have skipped town to the greener pastures of the Eastern Conference I have been reading a bunch of articles about how the St. Louis Blues are the Blackhawks' new biggest rival. What's with the "new" stuff? My hatred of the Blues, and pretty much all things St. Louis, has gone back many a year and didn't start just because Detroit left the Central Division.
The Red Wings were, rightfully so, the biggest rival for the Blackhawks. They started playing games against each other in 1926. They have met in the playoffs 16 times including twice in the Stanley Cup Final. The Hawks won nine of those series, including both meetings in the Final so suck on that Detroit! Years of animosity eventually turned into respect. The Wings have had many players over the years you couldn't help but admire and wished they played for the Hawks. Guys like Steve Yzerman, Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk fall under this category. My respect for the Wings has calmed the hatred over the years, but it was always a little extra special to beat them. All of that is over now.
Unlike the Wings, I have zero respect for the Blues. St. Louis sports fans make it nearly impossible to do anything but loathe them. Just spend a few moments reading the geniuses at Bleedin' Blue or some Tweets from Cardinals fans and your ire should be kicked up a notch or two. We aren't dealing with the brightest colors in the Crayola box, that's for sure!
I have hated the Blues for as long as I can remember. I started to really follow the Hawks and the NHL in the late 80's when the old Norris Division was at its best. The rivalries between with the Blues, Wings, Maple Leafs and old North Stars will never be recreated in today's NHL. You could come close with the new, somewhat divisional playoff format but those teams had a real hatred of each other.
The Hawks and Blues have been in the same division since 1970, so the history is there. They have met 10 times in the postseason, with the Hawks winning seven of those series. The Blues, however have won the last two playoff meetings in 1993 and 2002 (more on the 93 series later). The rivalry has recently picked up again because both teams have been good the last few years. During the mid 2000's when neither team was making the playoffs the rivalry cooled off. It's really hard to start a rallying cry of "we suck slightly less than you do!", right Chicago baseball fans? But now the Hawks and Blues are the best two teams in the new Central Division which will be great to get the hate flowing again.
The Blues have a long history of employing knuckle dragging mouth breathers. According to HockeyFights.com, the Hawks have had more fights (283) with the Blues than any other team in their long history. Two of my most hated Blues, Kelly Chase and Tony Twist, were on the team at the same time in the late 80's and early 90's. Watching the likes of Wayne Van Dorp and Dave Manson pound their faces in was always a great joy.
I will never forget the game on March 17, 1991 when the Hawks and Blues erupted in an epic brawl.
1993 is the year the Blues cemented themselves as my "most hated hockey team from all entirety." The Blackhawks won the Norris Division with 106 points that year and the Blues squeaked in with 85. The two teams split the regular season series with each team winning three games to go along with one tie. There was no doubt the Blackhawks were the favorite in that series but nobody told that to St. Louis. The Blues ended up sweeping the series, out scoring the Hawks 13 to 6. Curtis Joseph played out of his mind, shutting out the Hawks in both Games 2 and 3, despite facing a total of 81 shots. The series ended with an overtime goal that caused Ed Belfour to lose his mind.
The post game tantrum spilled into the locker room, where Belfour reportedly caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. It was so bad that Eddie refused to play in St Louis the rest of his career. I remember watching the Blues celebrate that first round victory like they had just won the Stanley Cup (remind you of anybody?) and even as a 14 year old I knew that was bush league. I don't think I ever cheered for the Maple Leafs more than I did in the next round, where they thankfully ended the Blues' season in seven games.
The Blues tradition of assbaggery is as strong as ever today and it starts with their captain David Backes. This dingus has a hard on for taking runs at Jonathan Toews.
You have to a special breed of penis to get Tazer to actually drop the gloves!
It is quite obvious that Backes is jealous of Tazer's superior hockey skills and his ability to actually win in the playoffs.
Oh it doesn't end with Backes either. You have great Roman Polak you likes to go after legendary thugs like Viktor Stalberg.
And of course there is still Ryan Reeves, who is one of the most vile creatures ever spawned from the depths of Hell since we saw Golgothan, the shit demon, in Dogma.
Punches to the back of the head when your guy is already down, gutless....
So when the Blackhawks and Blues square off for the first time tomorrow night, remember that your hatred of the Blues isn't new, it has always been there.