The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks renew their rivalry – started during the 2009 playoffs and harbored over three consecutive post-season clashes – Friday at Rogers Arena.
The two teams haven’t played each other since March 21 of last year, when Duncan Keith elbowed Daniel Sedin in the head during the first period of a game in Chicago.
Keith was suspended five games, and Sedin missed the remaining nine regular season games and the first three of Vancouver’s five playoff games against the L.A. Kings.
Sedin was quick to put down any notions of revenge.
His teammates also downplayed such an act, although it’s clear last year’s incident hasn’t been forgotten and may fuel emotions that were previously put on the back burner during the lockout.
“I am not going to lie, there is bitterness, for sure,” defenseman Kevin Bieksa told the Vancouver Sun.
“We’re still not happy about it and I’m sure deep down Danny is not happy about it. But it’s part of the game. I have cheap-shotted guys before, not as bad as that, but it happens in games and you have to accept it.”
It might still be January and the season less than two full weeks old, but Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville already used the term “playoff-mentality” to describe Friday’s showdown.
“There’s good history there. When we go there the building is alive,” Quenneville told the Chicago Tribune.