Let’s make this clear: sometimes, the Wednesday Night Rivalry games are clunkers between two teams that may’ve disliked each other 45 years ago for fifteen minutes. Sometimes, however, they’re between two teams with a deep seeded contempt for each other that always translates into exciting, chippy hockey.
The Blues and Blackhawks are those kinds of rivals. While both teams have had pretty consistent regular season success despite whatever the world throws at them, the Blackhawks - by virtue of three Cups in recent history (2010, 2013, 2015) are seen as the premiere franchise.
Needless to say, this chafes the Blues, who bring a higher level of play to nearly every matchup between the two. Call it big bro vs. little bro if you want to, but you can’t deny how exciting the games are. Last season the series was particularly close: 2-2-1.
This year’s Blackhawks are a bit different that last year’s. Patrick Sharp is back, Artemi Panarin was dealt to the Blue Jackets for Branden Saad (and made Patrick Kane cry in the process), and Marian Hossa is sadly on the LTIR due to an allergic reaction to his pads that has made it next to impossible to play.
Despite some changes, the biggest constant is still there - Coach Joel Quennville. Former Blues coach Mike Kitchen was let go in April after the Hawks’ first round elimination by the Nashville Predators, and Coach Q was none too happy. He’s apparently channeled that frustration into his coaching, because the Hawks are off to a 4-1-1 start this season.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint) the Blues and Blackhawks don’t see each other again until March 18th, and then again twice the last week of the season.
Damn NHL Scheduling Gods.