2011 Home Record Against: 2-1-0
All Time Home Record Against: 19-12-3-3
2011 Away Record Against: 1-2-0
All Time Away Record Against: 15-22-1-0
All Time Record Against: 34-34-4-3 (a tie? wow…)
If there is one team Predators fans really don’t like, especially in their own arena, it would probably fall on the Chicago Blackhawks. Most could argue that title may fall in the hands of Detroit still, or to a degree even San Jose, however when the Blackhawks and their rambunctious fans file through the doors of the Bridgestone Arena, it’s an all-hands-on-deck scenario as Predators fans never know what to expect.
Personal story break…:
“During a game against the Blackhawks in late February, I sat about 4 rows from the ice as the Hawks crushed the Preds that night 3-0. Sitting to the right of me was a larger lady and sitting about 6 or 7 seats to the left of me were a pair of mildly inebriated Hawks fans. As the game wore on, a Hawks player took a penalty and I stood and cheered the penalty as it (in my mind) was a good penalty call by the ref’s. The drunk fans to the left started to belittle me while the lady to the right began to do the same.
I began to yell back at the drunks to my left and it got heated for a little while. Eventually, I sat back down as the lady directly to my right began to rant on at me. I told her that my main problem with Hawks fans were that there were a ton of fans that were bandwagon Hawks fans. She began to complain that regardless if whether the fans were bandwagon fans or not, Nashville fans are “idiots” and don’t know anything about hockey in general, calling us a bunch of “rednecks, anyways”.
Of course, this angered me a tad, so I started to lecture her about the Hawks and about the Predators and asked her if she even knew anything about the two teams at all. It all boiled down to one sentence I said: “If you can tell me who Éric Dazé and Tony Amonte were, then I’ll quit talking and go back to watching the game”. Turns out this woman was a new Blackhawks fan (bandwagon, if you will) and caved in under the pressure and explained to me that she was one of the new fans that I had disliked so much. Needless to say, we continued our conversation throughout the game and I helped her understand more of the history between the two teams.
Meanwhile, the drunks at the end of the row weren’t finished. One stood up and yelled: “HEY! HEY BUDDY! HEY YOU PREDS IDIOT! HEY! HEY!” until I finally got fed up with it, stood up, turned around, and began to open my mouth when he smiled and said “HEY!….you want a beer?”. I laughed, said “no, thanks”, sat back down and enjoyed the rest of the loss the Preds would take.”
Moral of the story?
Blackhawks Fans – You expect one thing out of them and you get something completely different.
Before 2007, most times when the Predators played the Blackhawks, it was in front of low-draw crowds and the number of Blackhawks jerseys that you would see you most likely could count on one hand. However, since Rocky Wirtz took over, the team has changed dynamically, won a Stanley Cup, and invigorated a fan base that had been praying for change for decades. That same invigorated fan base invades Nashville like a sea of red (or black) on Preds/Hawks gamedays now.
Whether it’s a hate of the two Patricks (Kane & Sharp), or maybe it’s a hate of 2010 Game 5 OT Her0 (who it was speculated maybe should have been ejected) Marian Hossa, some people even have a rampant disgust of the Hawks fans that cheer during the National Anthem done inside the Bridgestone Arena. Whatever the case is, the series between the two teams usually results in sold-out arenas on both ends and a heated up rivalry on the ice and in the stands.
Chicago is coming off a tough season where the barely scraped into the playoffs, lost the first 3 games to their good buddies the Vancouver Canucks, before winning the next 3 and losing a heartbreaker in overtime of game 7 to perennial NHL villain Alex Burrows. The Blackhawks shed a ton of salary before the season started, dumping many pieces of the Cup-winning team including goaltender Antii Niemi, fan-favorite Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, and many others, just so they could become Cap-compliant. This played a big part in their season, dropping the Hawks 15 points back of their season finish from almost one year prior.
This year, they’ve added a few new pieces to their puzzle, mainly Andrew Brunette, Daniel Carcillo, and Jamal Mayers. They’ve retained a few key pieces, such as Corey Crawford, Michael Frolik, Viktor Stalberg. They’ve also dropped a few pieces, like Troy Brouwer, Jake Dowell, and a player most Preds fans don’t like: Tomas Kopecky (who was sent to Florida, away to the Eastern Conference with love).
Yet, even with all the change in the organization, the Blackhawks will put a competitive product on the ice this year, there is no question in that at all.