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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Sharp: Canucks now Hawks' biggest rival

By Scott Powers

Patrick Sharp
Patrick Sharp says the Canucks have replaced the Red Wings as the Hawks' biggest rival.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said the Vancouver Canucks -- not the Detroit Red Wings -- are their biggest rivals now.

"I'd say Canucks, hands down," Sharp said Wednesday on the "Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I think the more fun games for the crowd might be Detroit. The fans definitely get into it. There's a lot of Michigan fans in the United Center, and the crowd gets rowdy. There's a big history there. But as players on the ice, there's a lot of bad blood between the Canucks and the Blackhawks."

The Blackhawks' recently rivalry with the Canucks was built up after facing each other in the playoffs in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Blackhawks won two of those series.

A few questionable hits by both teams have also intensified their games. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith elbowed Canucks forward Daniel Sedin last season, and Keith was suspended five games. In the Blackhawks' 4-3 shootout win over the Canucks on Tuesday, Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen hit Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the back of the head with a forearm. Hansen was suspended one game by the NHL for the hit.

"Every time you play those guys it's a different storyline," Sharp said. "There's something, there's an incident that happens, there might be retaliation. These are two teams, I understand hate is a strong, but don't like each other. I guess there's some respect on both sides as well. Two good teams for a long time."

The Blackhawks' fans often voice their dislike for the Canucks loudly at the United Center, and the Canucks fans do the same at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

"Their fans get into it," Sharp said. "All across Canada whenever we go to a road city, fans are amped up, Vancouver especially. There are a lot of fans waiting for our bus to roll into the building. They're banging on the side of it and have some choice words for us. It's a fun atmosphere to play in. I'm sure we'll see them down the road a bunch of more times."