Tag: rivalry

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six

Chicago is pretty fired up to face Vancouver tonight


Tonight, the Blackhawks will face the Canucks for the first time since being eliminated by Vancouver in last year’s epic, historic, unforgettable first-round playoff series.

A series that ended like this, in case you forgot:

Leading up to tonight’s game, the ‘Hawks have spent plenty of time telling local media just how excited they are to get it on.

Dave Bolland: “It will be like a playoff game on Sunday right from the puck drop. Something will happen. The fans and everybody will be into it. It will be a crazy game.”

Joel Quenneville: “At the end of the year you know they’re going to be a top team. The rivalry is definitely in place. When you play them three years in a row in the playoffs there’s something going on there.”

Brent Seabrook: ““It’s going to be an exciting game. We’re looking forward to it.”

Adding to the intrigue will be the presence of Dan Carcillo. Acquired by the ‘Hawks this past summer, Carbomb made waves during his introductory presser on Aug. 8 by saying the following:

Strong but problematic words from the ‘Hawks instigator extraordinaire — when Carcillo said this, Tanner Glass and Raffi Torres were no longer with the Canucks. Glass had signed with Winnipeg on Jul. 1, the same day Torres inked with Phoenix.

(Also, Carcillo got Maxim Lapierre mixed up with Ian Laperriere. Hey, it was his first-ever press conference.)

Unlike Glass and Torres, Lapierre is still with the Canucks and seems fine being at the top of Carcillo’s hit list.

“That’s all right,” Lapierre told the Vancouver Province. “We know he [Carcillo] plays his role and he might be the 500th guy in the league who has said that. I’m used to it and I enjoy my role. I don’t know what he’s doing and I really don’t care about him.”

There’s also the small matter of how both teams are coming into this game. Vancouver’s been bad (lost two straight and four of six) while Chicago’s been good (won three of four, gained seven of eight points) — setting the stage for a pretty key affair for both clubs.

NHL schedule humor: Coyotes take on Jets in home opener

Phoenix Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings - Game Two

The Jets are flying south to Phoenix. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

You know someone in the league’s scheduling office has to have a sense of humor to arrange that kind of matchup for the home opener. The old Jets vs. the new Jets faceoff while the old Jets fight to stay in their new town. Did you catch all that?

In a way, the rivalry isn’t what it would have been at this time last season. For years, there were a portion of Winnipeggers who relentlessly hammered fans in Phoenix because they didn’t think they deserved an NHL team. Reading comments on Coyotes articles was a virtual how-to course for people learning how to troll effectively on the internet. There was plenty of hate to go around.

But things are a little calmer now. Since Winnipeg got an NHL team, the trolls aren’t as active these days. It probably has something to do with the fact that those pesky fans finally have a team of their own to follow. In Phoenix, the ownership problems aren’t any closer to being settled. No owner, no owner in sight, and the City of Glendale paying the bills. But here’s the difference: without Winnipeg chomping at the bit for a team, there’s less tension surrounding the Coyotes as they look for a new owner.

Still, these two teams have the potential to be rivals right out of the box. Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun expects an interesting dynamic in the stands on Saturday night:

“The mood at the Jobing.com Arena, Saturday, should be an interesting mix of Phoenix fans eager to heap derision on the Jets, and by extension, the people of Winnipeg, who almost stole their team last spring, and Winnipeggers taking advantage of an easy chance to see the Jets in a building that’s almost never full.”

On the ice, the Coyotes finished their season opening three-game road trip with a 1-1-1 record. They’re looking to build on Thursday night’s impressive 5-2 victory in Nashville as they play 9 of their next 12 games at home. For a team that hopes to make it back to the playoffs for the third straight season, every point matters in the tough Western Conference.

For Coyotes captain Shane Doan, facing off against the Jets will be an odd turn of events. He was originally drafted by the Jets in 1995 and has never been traded throughout his entire career. Yet, on Saturday, he’ll be playing against the Jets. It’s an oddity that isn’t lost on the Coyotes veteran who is looking for his 300th goal on Saturday:

“It’s a unique situation in the fact that it’s Winnipeg. Our team and our organization is connected to them and that makes it pretty special. They gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL and I will always be grateful for the incredible opportunity to play there.

“Being from Western Canada, it meant so much for me. It’s pretty unique to have a chance to play against them. I signed every contract, never asked to be traded and have never been traded. Now I’m playing against the team that drafted me. But it’s different now, they’ve got a whole different organization. A great group of guys that are in there, the management and you hear such rave reviews about it and it’s exciting for the city I’m sure.”

It’ll be the Jets job to make sure Doan doesn’t feel too much at home with the Winnipeggers in attendance. Winnipeg is 0-2 in the early going and new incarnation of the team is still looking for its first win. If they could get it against Phoenix, it would make it that much sweeter for fans in Winnipeg.

And that much more bitter for fans in Phoenix.

Sharks and Ducks renew acquaintances in Anaheim

San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks

There are always quirks in the NHL schedule and there’s no better example than tonight’s game between the Sharks and Ducks in Anaheim. The Ducks haven’t played since last Saturday when they played the New York Rangers in Sweden. Likewise, the Sharks haven’t played since they destroyed the Phoenix Coyotes in their opening night game at the Shark Tank last Saturday. But as Ducks coach Randy Carlyle joked, “Schedules sometimes have oddities in them. And we never complain about our schedule.”

Both teams are obviously itching to get back onto the ice—and what better way than against a divisional rival to kick really kick start the season. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf knows that it’s always a battle when the Sharks come to town

“San Jose and us are put together in a similar fashions,” Getzlaf said. “We all play the same kind of game—a hard, fast game. Every time we play those guys, it’s a big rivalry for us and those things grow within a playoff series. We’ve had our fair share against them in the last five years.”

Both teams made the playoffs last season and even earned home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Both Sharks coach Todd McLellan and Carlyle admitted that they thought the Pacific was the toughest division in the NHL; they both know that points are at a premium every game. The Sharks need every point they can get as they look to earn home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The last two seasons the team has lost in the Western Conference final—last season they knew that home-ice advantage could have helped against the Canucks.

Likewise, the Ducks know that every point in the Pacific is crucial as they look for back-to-back playoff appearances. The two teams definitely have history. When the 8th seed Ducks beat the top seed Sharks in 2009, it took the rivalry to the next level. It may be the beginning of the year, but hockey players have long memories. There’s always potential for some fireworks.

Some people will remember that Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf dropped the gloves at the opening faceoff during that nasty series in 2009. When asked if he planned on dropping the gloves with Joe Thornton in the faceoff circle, Getzlaf laughed, “Not likely!”

So you’re saying there’s a chance…