Here we are, then.

The last waltz is playing, the house lights are coming up, Kyle Wellwood in Drag is preparing to give us a song..

The Inter-Divisional rivalry with the Wings is about to come to an end. I feel like a few words are in order

However, to paraphrase a smart old English dude called Bill,

“I come not to praise Detroit, but to bury them”

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The shadow of that winged wheel has been cast over the Hawks for a long, long time. In fact, talk to a Detroit Fan (do go and  talk to them: the men and women in our Prison System benefit from contact with the outside world) and they are likely to include the question “How many Cups have you won?” every third sentence.

And they have a point (no, not that shiv they made from a spoon)

Detroit’s record stands for itself. Simply put, they’ve had their foot firmly on the Hawks’ neck for a very long time. However, it looks as though their win in the WCF of 2009 was the high-water mark for these Wings over the Hawks. Since then they have aged (more so), seen Legends declining and retiring and won Fuck All. While the Hawks got a big shiny thing, had to blow up that team and rebuild to this year’s juggernaut, SCUM have merely dwindled. As of now, they’re firmly on the Playoff bubble.

However, there isn’t a Hawks fan alive that doesn’t expect them to make it in to the Post-Season, and it looks increasingly like they’ll be the First-Round opposition in the Playoffs. Which is reason enough to tip most of us over into full-blown alcohol abuse. I know my friend and colleague Nakis wakes up screaming in the night at the thought of it.

But that’s another story for another day.

Tonight the Hawks and the Wings face each other for the final time as Divisional rivals (or at least until they haul the Yotes to Quebec and the Wings get dragged kicking and screaming back into the West.. I’m expecting the butthurt to be visible from Space).

To add to the spice, if “Most Improved Team In, Like, EVER”, Columbus, manage to hang one on the Blues tonight. a Hawks win clinches the last-ever Central title. The poetry is undeniable. As the Wings have diminished, along with their rotting sinkhole of a city, the Hawks have risen. If it reaches its apotheosis tonight.. well. That would be great.

On the subject of St Louis: the Blues will be the Hawks’ biggest rival next year but they are living in a fantasy world if they think it will have the same frisson as Hawks/Wings. (But that’s OK: Blues fans already live in a Magical Kingdom where David Backes is a great captain,,Brian Elliott is an NHL-Level goalie and Barrett Jackman is not a Rectal Wart on Skates)

This is because, mixed in with all the loathing, is a genuine, grudging respect for the Wings. They have had some pretty fucking great Hockey players down through the years. My two favourite non-Hawks are both Wings (or ex-Wings in Lidstrom’s case.. the other being Datsyuk). Even now, they’re low on genuine Penisloafs. Tootoo, for sure: he’d fit right in on a St Louis team. Bertuzzi remains my third most hated NHL player, but he’s hurt, so off the radar for now. Kronwall has always been a POS. After that it’s slim pickings for hate-figures. Abdelkader’s Elbow has it’s own Cap-hit. Zetterburg can be a douche. As for the rest, it’s mere annoyance, unlike the sheer cascade of Absolute Dickheads the Blues can ice.

When I think of StL I feel hatred mixed with contempt. When I think of the Wings it’s hatred mixed with fear and respect. There’s a reason we call you “Scum Jr,” Blues.

So, tonight, for the last time (for now) we await the arrival of the Detested Detroit at the UC and hope to send them back to their decaying hellhole with Chelsea Dagger ringing in their ears so loud it drowns out the gunshots.

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Fuck Scum.

Let’s Go Hawks.