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updated: 1/21/2014 10:13 PM

Blackhawks still excited to face Detroit

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  • Brandon Bollig, second from right, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in Sunday's victory over Boston. Bollig says the Hawks are excited about Wednesday night's meeting with the Red Wings at Detroit.

      Brandon Bollig, second from right, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in Sunday's victory over Boston. Bollig says the Hawks are excited about Wednesday night's meeting with the Red Wings at Detroit.
    Associated Press

 
 

Go ahead and try to convince the Blackhawks there's still not a rivalry with the Red Wings.

For that matter, go ahead and try to convince Hawks fans of the same thing.

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Yeah, good luck with that.

Your efforts will be futile, because despite the fact that Detroit has switched conferences, when these two teams drop the puck Wednesday night, with the memory of an epic playoff series still fresh in everyone's mind, the atmosphere at Joe Louis Arena promises to be as intense as ever.

"I'm sure the building will be an exciting place, knowing we're not there as much," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "There will be Hawks fans, there will be Wings fans, and everyone will be into it to a different level than against anybody we've played. And we're visiting back after a great seven-game series that could've gone either way.

"Knowing that we only play once a year in each others' building now, I think we can bring back the intensity, the rivalry that's been in place for a long time."

His players can't wait.

"That's something that we've always looked forward to the last couple years, with the rivalry that it was and still is, and we're excited to renew that and go into that building, which has had so much history in it, and have an exciting game and have a good, tough game against a good team," Brandon Bollig said.

"We're pumped for it and excited to get going."

And there's no doubt the Red Wings are pumped to get a little revenge for that Western Conference semifinal series they led 3-1, then watched as the Hawks fought their way back to even at 3-3 before applying the dagger in OT of Game 7.

"I still think like, when I think about it, it's so close, it could've been us," Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson told reporters. "But on the other hand, they're a really good team, too, and they found a way to win throughout the whole season credit to them, they found a way to win."

Just the thought of that series victory triggers the memories for Bryan Bickell, who has participated in many Red Wings-Blackhawks battles over the years.

"The biggest memory I have is probably from last year; to do what we did with the Original Six, with the fans," Bickell said. "I know it's tough to do, and it's just a memory that I'll always have.

"It enhances the rivalry a little bit more. Now we don't play each other as much, but we're looking forward to it."

And they know last season's playoff loss will play a big factor Wednesday night for the Wings.

"Yeah, I think that will probably add a little dimension to it," Nick Leddy said. "I'm sure they want to give us a little payback."

There will be even more urgency considering there's only one more regular-season meeting between the longtime rivals.

"Yeah, I think it heightens it a little bit," Leddy said. "But it's definitely weird going from playing them a ton and getting used to playing in Joe Louis.

"So, yeah, it will definitely be a little weird, but it will be great to play them."

•Weekend passes for the seventh annual Blackhawks Convention go on sale Monday. The convention will take place at the Hilton Chicago from July 18-20.

Fans interested in attending can purchase weekend passes online at chicagoblackhawks.com, at the United Center box office, or through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 beginning Monday at 10 a.m.

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