In the aftermath of the highly entertaining/physical Bruins game, I got to thinking (again) about how rivalries change and who are the Canucks' main rivals today and in the past. So, these are the two lists, in my opinion:
All-time Vancouver Canuck rivals:
1) Calgary Flames
2) Edmonton Oilers
3) Chicago Blackhawks
4) NY Rangers
5) Colorado Avalanche
Current Vancouver Canuck rivals:
1) Boston Bruins
2) Chicago Blackhawks
3) Calgary Flames
4) San Jose Sharks
5) Los Angeles Kings
(HM: Leafs & Habs, mainly from the fan side though)
I know this isn't a popular opinion but I'd have to put Minnesota in with the top 5 current rivalries. I say that not necessarily because we have a long history or our games have been super epic or anything, but because they've really been the Canucks' only competition in the division. Over the last few years, the Canucks have an insane record against Calgary, Colorado and Edmonton, generally handling those teams with ease whenever they play them. Minnesota, however, gives the Canucks fits so they represent a bit of a challenge of sorts. No, they're not the most exciting team to play by any means, but from them going neck and neck with the Canucks for the division in 06/07 to them handing the Canucks a couple beatings in their building over the last few seasons, I'd say they qualify as a bit of a rival.
Chicago is really our only true rival, though. Then there's Boston, San Jose and maybe Calgary. Then there's Minnesota.
For current rivalries, I'd put Calgary 5th and move San Jose to 3rd and LA to 4th.
I agree. Meeting in the playoffs creates rivalries. Calgary has sucked for so long, the rivalry has fizzled. I don't even know if they should be in the top 5. Living in Calgary, I know Flames fans dislike the Canucks. But the players could care less ... Flames players know they are outmatched when they play the Canucks.
Chicago definitely the biggest rival of recent years. With Boston, the intensity between the two teams is definitely there, but given that we're in different conferences we don't play each other nearly enough to be considered real "rivals". It's growing with San Jose, and I don't see this changing in the coming years. Calgary... well, maybe historically, but in the last decade they just haven't been nearly competitive enough to make the games remotely interesting. Detroit are definitely the team we like to benchmark ourselves with, but there is definitely some intensity growing here too. Nowhere near the Chicago/Boston level yet, although if we meet in the playoffs that could all change.
The only reason I'd consider Calgary a rival is for traditions sake. I consider Toronto a bigger rival these days and they're not even in the same conference. Boston is the most hated, but I still think Chicago is our biggest rival.
Definitely doesn't feel like a rivalry with Edmonton or Calgary anymore. There's way more tension against San Jose, and Los Angeles with the possibility of Detroit.
Calgary and Edmonton are games where I don't even look forward too. SJ, LA, DET game son the other hand? I love those games.
Sharks and Wings games are exciting because they're good teams. There is very little animosity between the Canucks and Wings and we haven't had a single playoff series with them in a decade. We had one series against the Kings but aside from that I don't get the sense of a rivalry. Obviously the Flames and Oilers aren't good right now, but the Flames were our #1 rivals through most of the decade and that doesn't just disappear. As long as Iginla's around, there is a rivalry. The Oilers and Canucks just plain hate each other, noticeably more than Canucks-Wings and Canucks-Kings. If the Sharks face us in the playoffs again this Spring I'd move them up to #2/3 behind Chicago and alongside Boston. Once again, one series does not overshadow years of Flames/Oilers.
How do you not look forward to Flames and Oilers games? They're free points!
Detroit isn't a rival at all. I feel absolutely no hate towards them and the only reason I get jacked when the Canucks play them is simply because they're perennially one of the top teams in the West. Nothing to do with them being a rival at all.