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updated: 5/7/2013 11:09 PM

Rivalry between Hawks, Wild seems primed to ignite

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  • Playoff hockey can create instant rivalries, as the Blackhawks discovered the last three seasons with Vancouver. Now that the Hawks will be in the same division next season with the Wild, the intensity could grow.

       Playoff hockey can create instant rivalries, as the Blackhawks discovered the last three seasons with Vancouver. Now that the Hawks will be in the same division next season with the Wild, the intensity could grow.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Back in the 1980s, there was nothing quite like a game between the Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars.

The rivalry was the most intense in the Norris Division -- and one of the best in the entire NHL.

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There was hatred, dislike, Dino Ciccarelli vs. Al Secord, Dave Manson vs. Basil McRae, Shane Churla, the Met Center and Chicago Stadium.

Think the Hawks-Canucks rivalry times 10.

Then the North Stars moved to Dallas and the rivalry dried up.

Many are hoping a new rivalry is developing between the Hawks and Minnesota Wild, and they point to this first-round playoff series as possibly providing a spark toward that end.

Thanks to the NHL's realignment plan, the Hawks and Wild will be in the same division next season.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville believes it's a rivalry waiting to happen.

"We saw when you play three years in a row against Vancouver in the playoffs the emotion that transfers to the regular season," Quenneville said. "Playing more games against (the Wild) now, I'm sure we'll be able to see that progression come the next series of regular-season games. I would expect that to definitely be in place."

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews can see the games with the Wild developing into special events.

"Maybe down the road," Toews said. "You have seen as the series goes along that it gets more and more personal, and it will as it goes further into it.

"Whenever you exit a series, whether it's regular season next year or whatever, there's always a little history there that guys don't forget too quickly. We'll see where that goes."

Minnesota is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and has spent a lot of money to get competitive again. The Wild signed defenseman Ryan Suter and winger Zach Parise as free agents last summer and they have an abundance of good young players coming up through the pipeline.

"Obviously when you play in the playoffs some things carry on for the next year," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "I think any team it's always fun to know when it's a big game and things like that. It's always exciting for the fans and for the players as well."

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