The Vancouver Canucks had some ferocious battles with Chicago in the last fourteen years, all of them coming against Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
After almost a full sixteen seasons in the Windy City, Kane moved on to the New York Rangers just three days before this year’s NHL Trade deadline. Toews will see his contract expire after four more games and it appears he’ll be testing out free agency and moving along as well. Like Kane, he’s looking for one more Stanley Cup if he can get it.
Canucks fans don’t need to be reminded of the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
The trip to the chalice for Chicago in 2010 went through Vancouver with a six-game victory in the Western Conference semi-finals, a similar result to the 2009 playoffs. Toews had a hat trick in game-4 of the 2010 version. The Blackhawks went on to sweep the San Jose Sharks to win the west and then defeated the Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup.
Vancouver got over the nasty Chicago hump in 2011 with a seven-game series win in the opening round. Exercising the Blackhawks demon wasn’t easy. The Canucks were the top seeded team, Presidents Trophy winners, playing the eight-seed. After winning the first three games of the series, Vancouver lost the next three and were forced to OT in Game-7. Alex Burrows was the hero at 5:22 of overtime.
Three rounds later the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
The Blackhawks didn’t run into the Canucks en route to their more recent Stanley Cups. Vancouver was bounced in the first round both times.
The ferocious back-to-back-to-back playoff series for those three years made for one of the great postseason rivalries of this millennium.
Toews will remain respected by most in the Lower Mainland, but he won’t necessarily be missed.
Speaking of respect, Toews definitely deserves it. A quiet leader, nicknamed “Captain Serious” as a young player by his teammate Kane in the early going, the man wearing the C for the Blackhawks for the past fourteen years has definitely been a clutch performer and a class act.
While Kane was drawing attention to himself and occasionally getting into a bit of trouble, Toews was quietly going about his business and getting the job done.
It’s very likely we’re seeing him play his final four games for the franchise this week, starting with the game against the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.