Monday, March 18, 2013

This "Rivalry" Ends Here

There have been 72 regular season and 7 playoff meetings all time between the Minnesota Wild, and the Vancouver Canucks. And tonight, on the 73rd regular season installment of this so called "rivalry", the two meet for the final time as division rivals.

Back in the Wild's early years, the two teams fit the description of a rivalry. They hated us, and we hated them. Then it was at its most intensified state, when they met in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, which the Wild won in 7 games.

But since that epic playoff series, the rivalry has become, really, a non rivalry anymore. For the last 5 years, Vancouver has dominated the Wild, including an impressive 12 game home winning streak dating back to March 3, 2009 (The last Wild win in Rogers Center was January 31, 2009 on a Marc-Andre Bergeron GW OT goal).

The domination by the Canucks in recent years, has allowed them to even up the all time series record with the Wild at 29-29-14. So the winner of tonight's game, can say they were the better team when they were division rivals. (Insert sarcastic celebration here)

For something that has been considered a rivalry for this long, there sure have been a lack of great moments in these contests. Only two distinct moments come to mind when you think about this matchup:

There was that time the late Rick Rypien tried to fight a Wild fan.

And then the other was the Wild's comeback from a 3-1 series deficit in the 03 semis.

All because of Jacques Lemaire and his "lucky socks"

But after that, all you can think of is guys like Matt Johnson and Derek Boogaard getting into the occasional fight with the Canucks goon at the time, or the Sedin twins lighting up the Wild defense on a Wild power play, or Roberto Luongo's utter dominance of the Wild at Rogers Arena, and his utter awfulness against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center, or Todd Bertuzzi playing that awful Vancouver style of hockey (AKA Dive City)

There has not been a rivalry between the two teams in 10 years. And tonight, this "rivalry" will finally come to an end. Minnesota can move on and make rivalries with new divisional opponents next year, such as, Chicago, Winnipeg, and St. Louis.

And when those rivalries actually take off and become rivalries, the Canucks-Wild rivalry will just become an after-thought.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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