Our Newest Enemy: The Vancouver Canucks

There's a rivalry brewing here, and it's only going to get worse

So, remember last week, when all we could do was whine about how much we hated Kevin Garnett? And about how the Celtics were basically a team of punks, from Rajon Rondo's dirty antics to Kendrick Perkins' half-sad, half-angry smirk? The only Celtic we like at this point is Ray Allen, who is not only amazing but a true class act. The rest of them we can do without.

Well, that was last week. The Bulls are done now. They're spending their time, as Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich were last night, watching the Blackhawks play in the Western Conference semifinals, and if they're seeing what we're seeing, they're seeing a budding rivalry that's getting as heated as anything non-Detroit the Blackhawks have.

It's true: We're really starting to hate the Vancouver Canucks.

The first few games have been chippy, but last night's game took it up a notch. Almost every whistle seemed to require a referee seperation. Canuck defensemen like Kevin Bieksa and Alexander Edler were constantly needling Blackhawks players after the play, shoving their stick into the midsections of Patrick Sharp and Marty Havlat. Sitting on the bench, Adam Burish caught a stray punch. (We thought that was illegal, but we're not exactly hockey experts; and hey, who wants to make hockey punches illegal? Not us.)

And Dustin Byfuglien, the Blackhawks big center screener, seemed constantly in the mix; if there's one player Vancouver very clearly does not like, it's Big Buff.

The chippy play isn't the only reason the Canucks seem bound for rivalry-town. It's, to be perfectly honest, how frustratingly good they are. Goalie Thomas Luongo is perhaps the game's best. The Canuck defense, even without stalwart Sami Salo, was incredibly well-organized last night. The Hawks rarely got off chances. As a fan, and perhaps even as a player, when the goals aren't coming, the next best catharsis is to just punch someone. That's pretty much what happened all last night.

So, yeah. It doesn't have the hatred of the Celtics-Bulls series. Not yet, anyway. But if things keep up like this on Thursday night, we'll have a special place on our Chicago sports dartboard for the Canucks. There's a great little spot just to the right of Brett Favre we've been waiting to use.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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