It was like an unofficial Norris Division heritage night in St. Louis on Saturday, as these two teams played in the type of contentious atmosphere that drew so many of us to this league in the first place.
It was a special night at Scottrade Center, one that turned back pages to Oakland Ave. The Chicago Blackhawks were in town, represented on the ice and in the stands. The building swelled with 19,250 fans, the largest and loudest crowd of the season.
There was a stirring rendition of the national anthem and a fight less than two minutes into the game. It was an old-time hockey atmosphere, the kind former Blues analyst Walter "Gus" Kyle lovingly referred to as a "real barnburner."
The game featured two first-period fights, and they both had their virtues. One minute and 42 seconds into the contest, Blues defenseman Jay McKee and Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp dropped the gloves after McKee had a big hit on Patrick Kane. Sharp's not exactly a brawler, but he held his own despite taking some stiff shots from McKee:
Is this sort of thing a sideshow? Perhaps. But in a game like last night's 2-1 win for Chicago over the Blues in overtime, it certainly added to the intensity of an old-time hockey night in St. Louis.