Though it’s not a particularly old rivalry, the Hawks-Canucks feud has become one of the more heated matchups in the entire National Hockey League in the last few years, mostly thanks to multiple playoff meetings. With so much hate, and so little respect, you’re bound for fireworks each time out.
But we hadn’t seen those fireworks so much this season. The matchups weren’t quite as heated as we might expect. The two squads more than made up for that on Wednesday.
A shoulder check to the head of Duncan Keith by Daniel Sedin and Keith returning the favor with an elbow to Daniel’s head laid the groundwork for an intense second period.
In the second, three players received misconducts, including Keith. Alex Burrows also received one for delivering a shot to Keith’s “groin area”, while Zach Kassian also was the recipient of a misconduct. The rest of the game was full of skirmishes after the whistle and plenty of physical play.
The two teams combined for 54 penalty minutes and 62 hits. Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook led the way in the physical game for the Hawks, with nine combined hits. Patrick Kane even added two.
But it wouldn’t be a Hawks-Canucks matchup without the words after the game, mainly from the Canucks locker room. As they usually are, the Canucks were unhappy with calls made, the result of the game, the musical selection at the United Center, etc. Alain Vigneault thought that Keith should have been handed a five minute penalty for the elbow to Daniel’s head, while Henrik said that he had (implying that he didn’t anymore) respect for Keith before the hit.
If this game doesn’t get you revved up for some playoff hockey, then nothing will. When these two teams meet, it’s as fierce as it gets in the NHL. If the two meet again in the postseason, for a third consecutive year, the universe might actually explode because it won’t be able to contain the intensity of such a matchup.
Again, if there was any question that the two teams were starting to soften up to each other after some “quiet” matchups earlier in the season, there aren’t anymore.