The Nashville Predators travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. And fans can already feel the hatred bubbling up from within.
If the Nashville Predators’ 2016-17 playoff run ended in the second round, many Preds fans would have been happy. It would have been considered successful for two reasons: Low expectations, and the fact that Nashville had swept the Chicago Blackhawks in four games.
Nothing else really needed to happen afterwards. It’s great that it did. But if the St. Louis Blues had ushered Nashville out the next round, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. At least the Predators swept those *insert expletive here* Blackhawks.
The Predators are set to face the Blackhawks tonight in their first meeting of the 2017-18 season. The Blackhawks will want to gain a measure of revenge for getting swept. The Predators will be looking to prove that winning in Chicago in dominant fashion wasn’t a one-shot deal.
I don’t know what will happen. What I do know is that I’m looking forward to this game a little more than the first four. Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins have become a pain in the Predators’ backside lately. The Dallas Stars definitely have an axe to grind with Nashville. Regardless of all that, nothing quite matches the hatred that the Predators & their fans hold in their hearts for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Why? Let me count the ways…
Predators fans have plenty of on-ice reasons to hate this guy. His career stats against Nashville are unseemly. Through 53 regular season games, Patrick Kane has scored 23 goals and collected 27 assists against the Predators. game-winning goals. His 700th career point came against Nashville. It feels like every time Nashville plays Chicago, Kane does something.
When Kane doesn’t have success, he becomes a sore loser. He whines to the media about Nashville’s style of play. There’s nothing worse than somebody that whines & complains when they can’t finish the job. To be fair, Kane usually only struggles when he’s playing for Team USA.
Jordin Tootoo started his career with the Nashville Predators organization. He was a fun scrappy guy, getting in fights & doing typical hockey things. He had a good name too, which is always a positive with me. He left for the Detroit Red Wings in 2012-13, then eventually made his way over to the Blackhawks last season. He scored one of his two goals last season against the Predators. That’s always annoying. He also dropped this gem of a quote:
Yeah…how’d that go for ya, Jordin?
I associate with a number of Chicago hockey fans on social media. My experiences with them have been nothing but enjoyable. (That might change today!) I see people wearing Blackhawks gear out in public from time to time & am always friendly with them. It’s cool to see fellow hockey fans regardless of what team they support. It’s important to preface this by saying that not all Chicago hockey fans are the dirt worst.
We all know about the ones that are. We’ve all had a run-in with “that guy”. I think former wrestler & current comic book author CM Punk is the perfect example of the stereotypical Blackhawks fan. He’s loud & obnoxious. He gets all up in your face. He thinks he’s better than you because of the team he roots for. He never talked about hockey before 2010, then was all about it when the Blackhawks won the Cup.
They also flock down to Nashville for games in large numbers. It’s tough to blame them for that though. Have you been to Chicago lately?
The Fratellis unleashed a monster back in 2006 with this song. Celtic FC, the Scottish band’s favorite football team, was the first sports team to use it. It’s spread throughout sports and we constantly heard it during the Blackhawks’ reign of terror in the early-2010s.
One of the most satisfying parts of last year’s first round series was that we never heard Chelsea Dagger. The Blackhawks didn’t score in Chicago. I like bringing that up from time to time.
The Blackhawks are one of very few franchises named after Native Americans that haven’t had to change their nickname or iconography. Why? Because it’s actually pretty respectful. The logo isn’t an overwrought caricature. Honestly, I kinda like it.
The Predators uniforms have long been the object of scorn among NHL fans. The Predators gold unis & helmets don’t get good reviews from fashion critics. The Blackhawks unis are widely considered among the best in the league. Most “Ranking the NHL Uniforms” articles have Chicago at the top or close, while Nashville finds itself towards the bottom. I like them, but I’m in the minority.
It’s annoying when somebody beats you. It’s worse if they look good while doing it.
I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of the three Stanley Cups.
I didn’t really feel it until this year. Up until last postseason, Stanley’s Cup seemed to exist in a different universe than the Nashville Predators. They were never really considered a legitimate contender until they got to the Final. They got two wins away.
Getting close to your goal makes you want it that much more. Predators fans got a little taste last season. A little sample. Now, we have a greater sense of what the Blackhawks organization & fanbase felt for their three championships in this decade.
The Predators definitely want that feeling. I want that feeling as a fan. Call it jealousy if you like, but the Nashville Predators want to be where the Chicago Blackhawks have been. The only way to get there is to go through the Blackhawks again & again.
One postseason series victory won’t be enough. Nashville will have to win multiple series over the Blackhawks. They’ll have to win the Cup. Then they’ll have to win it again. And again.
Even then, the Blackhawks & their fans will claim superiority. After all, they were in the Original Six. Nashville wasn’t a thing until 1998. There will always be something they can hold over us. Always.
That’s why I hate the Chicago Blackhawks.