After all these years of Chicago and Vancouver being in the NHL they have only met in the playoffs 3 times. That's it. For Canucks fans, it's bittersweet stuff if you're old enough to remember it. For you younger peeps, it's history lesson time:
Their first meeting was in the Stanley Cup Semi-finals in 1982, where the lunch-pail Canucks team, along with the superb goaltending of one Richard Brodeur were not to be denied. Stan Smyl and co. beat the Blackhawks in 5 games in an infamous series, but it was quite memorable for a 5-game series.
After beating the Blackhawks in overtime in game 1 ( a bit of a marathon that Jim Nill ended), the notorious game 2 occurred. The ref called 4 consecutive penalties on the Canucks. When Denis Savard scored on one of those power plays in the 3rd period making the score 4-1 Chicago. Canucks coach Roger Nielson had enough. He put a white towel on the end of a hockey stick and raised it into the air, indicating surrender to the "lousy" officiating. A couple Canucks players, Tiger Williams and I believe Gerry Minor followed suit. It was a beautiful site. Towel power in hockey was born. Roger Nielson however, was ejected from the game. Check out the footage.
Great stuff. See Brodeur tap Nielson on his way out and vice versa? See how players had to walk down those stairs in ol' Chicago Stadium? Nuts! Anyway, the Canucks did lose that game 4-1, but rallied around the cause, beating the Hawks in the next 3 games and winning the series in 5 games.
The series got ugly before it ended though, especially in Game 5. Check these clips out:
Hawks were frustrated. The Canucks were tuning them in Chicago in the final game before eliminating their candy asses.
OK, excuse the elongated rant...
This was the season after the Canucks went to the Finals. Pat Quinn had stepped down as head coach and Rick Ley replaced him. The Canucks made the following moves during the season:
-Brian Glynn went to Hartford on the waiver wire
-Shawn Antoski was traded to the Flyers for Joseph Beranek
-Murray Craven was traded to Chicago for Christian Ruutu (oh christ)
-Greg Adams was traded to Dallas for some punk named Dan Kesa and picks (nooo!)
-Gerald Diduck was traded to the Hawks for a punk and another punk
-Canucks acquired Corey Hirsch from the Rangers for Nathan Lafayette
-Jiri Slegr was traded to the Oilers for Roman Oksiuta
So, how did that translate? Regular season "success" but PLAYOFF FAILURE! Where did the defence go Mr. Ley? The Blackhawks swept the Canucks in round
12 of the playoffs with Chris Chelios scoring the winning goals in games 3 and 4 in OT. Watch and weep and the atrocious defence (if my html sucks, fast forward to 2:17 in the clip):
Are you kidding me? I don't hear Canucks fans talk about this series all that much and it makes sense why. The worst part about this is that those were the last 2 games played at the Pacific Coliseum before the Canucks moved to GM Place. Oh well.
The 4-2 series win by the Blackhawks in the 2009 NHL playoffs birthed a rivalry between the 2 teams that had long been forgotten. It had been 14 years since Chelios buried the Canucks in the 1995 playoffs and it had been all but forgotten. The 2009 playoff matchup had a special buildup to it to make the series itself even more intense.
Burrows' hair-pulling incident remains strong in Hawks fans' minds. The 6-game loss to Chicago in Round 2 last season didn't help. Chicago fans believe they can make Luongo cry once again.
Hey, I'm just providing a history lesson. I'll give more input on the up-coming series soon, as will the rest of us.