Game 7 end of an era for Hawks-Red Wings rivalry
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com May 30, 2013 12:06AM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Detroit Red Wings Game No.7 1St Period Blackhawks Andrew Shaw Jersey held by Detroit Red Wings Niklas Kronwall. Wednesday May 29, 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: July 2, 2013 7:24AM
So many playoff series ignite rivalries, fostering hatred and bad blood. Ask the Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks about that.
But this Western Conference semifinal series between the Hawks and the Detroit Red Wings didn’t rekindle the rivalry so much as it rekindled memories of a rivalry about to be torn apart by realignment.
With the Red Wings heading to the Eastern Conference next season, the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime victory in Game 7 on Wednesday was the final meeting between the archrivals as division and conference foes. It was an ending and a stage worthy of the storied Original Six rivalry.
‘‘Everybody remembers a Game 7,’’ Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘You look at the tradition and the history between the two teams — regular-season games, playoff series, battles and wars, Norris Division series — and you come down to a Game 7 to end it. It’s fitting for an amazing history.’’
While the players on both sides understand the significance of the history, it’s especially poignant for hockey lifers such as Quenneville and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who sounded wistful before the game as he talked about how much he enjoys these games.
‘‘When you’ve been in it a long time and you’ve got a lot of respect for the game, Original Six means something to you,’’ Babcock said.
Babcock chose to look on the bright side of the split — a potential matchup in the finals.
‘‘Obviously, the next time we face them in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’ll be a lot of fun,’’ he said.
Brent Seabrook was the hero, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. But Dave Bolland — an afterthought for much of the series, struggling and playing limited minutes on the fourth line — made it happen. His big hit on the Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist along the boards triggered the play. Just as Seabrook found redemption after a poor start to the series, so did Bolland.
‘‘Yeah, it’s gratifying for myself,’’ Bolland said. ‘‘I had been struggling. I had been finding my game, but I had to help out the team. To help out that last game there was great.’’
Before the game, Seabrook said Corey Crawford already was considered an elite goalie in the Hawks’ locker room. His 26-save performance in Game 7
surely won over a few outside the room, too. Crawford was too busy catching his breath from the exhilarating victory to put it in much perspective, though.
‘‘That was a great game, up and down, so many different situations throughout the game,’’ he said. ‘‘They played well; they played great, too. They’re a fast, skilled team. That was definitely an exciting game for all the fans to watch.’’
Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula appeared to suffer an ankle injury early in the first period during a scrum involving Andrew Shaw. He didn’t return.