CHICAGO -- The calendar might still say March, but it sure felt like April or May at the United Center on Wednesday night.
But no matter if its winter or spring or even a preseason game in fall, the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks don’t disappoint in the entertainment department. Why? Because they simply don’t like each other and it comes out on the ice.
But you are already knew that.
“It’s a playoff atmosphere every time we play them,” Brent Seabrook said after the Hawks 2-1 overtime win. “Those are the games both sides like to play in. They’re hard fought battles. It’s nice to come away with two points tonight.”
And what about the numerous skirmishes and cheap shots to go along with 12 minor penalties and three 10-minute misconducts?
“It’s one of those love/hate relationships,” Seabrook said. “We all love to play in games like that. They’re fun and exciting. At the same time I think we hate each other.”
There’s little doubt about that last sentiment. Seabrook was in the middle of a lot of that extracurricular activity as was his partner Duncan Keith. Keith went high on Daniel Sedin with a blow that will undoubtedly get a second look from the league then he reacquainted himself with old foe Alex Burrows.
“There was a little skirmish there,” Keith said. “That stuff happens. … It’s fun playing these guys. It’s fun and intense games to be a part of.”
Keith and Burrows were sent off for 14 minutes each after that altercation.
Seabrook and Keith weren’t the only two to scrap with the feisty Canucks. This game and rivalry were made for a player like Andrew Shaw who scored yet again off his shin pad, this time to win the game in overtime. But not before sustaining several big hits including a scary one by Alex Edler right before Keith nailed Daniel Sedin.
“I get banged around a lot in every game,” he laughed. “I get hit, get back up and keep going. … With the adrenaline you don’t feel much anyway but you have to watch out for those big guys.”
Shaw takes his hits and keeps on coming, mostly to the net. That’s three games in a row he’s scored off his shin pad. All while still playing his trademark scrappy style.
“It’s unbelievable,” Shaw said. “I love it. It’s the hockey I always wanted to play.”
If the teams meet in the playoffs for a fourth straight year he’ll get his wish. And so will many fans in two cities.