CHICAGO – One of hockey’s biggest rivalries hits the ice Wednesday when the St. Louis Blues clash with the Chicago Blackhawks. But not everyone is thrilled with the matchup, or at least certain elements tied to it.
Former Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling is now a studio analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, and he did not hold back on criticism of St. Louis on Tuesday when discussing the upcoming matchup.
“It’s the worst city in the country, worst place to play, and was the first team on my no-trade clause agreement,” said Darling on a NBC Sports Chicago production about St. Louis.
The tweet with video of Darling’s comments generated hundreds of thousands of views and was met with much dismay from St. Louis area fans and sports personalities.
“Folks. It’s Scott Darling. Nobody knows who he is. No need to respond. When you play 126 career games, you probably don’t get a no-trade clause,” said FOX 2 sports director Martin Kilcoyne via Twitter.
“How will St. Louis ever survive without him,” says KMOX sports director Tom Ackerman via Twiiter.
“Settle down,” says former Blues forward and St. Louis native Cam Janssen via Twitter.
Darling did win a Stanley Cup as a backup goalie for the Blackhawks in 2015, but his career 2.72 GAA and .908 save percentage are subpar to many goalies from his era.
Revisiting his comments, Darling has only played two career games in St. Louis, winning one and losing one behind a .875 save percentage. So maybe he had some validity if “worst place to play” meant a difficult one for opponents to prevail. The Blackhawks also broke the aforementioned no-trade clause when he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2017, and he never had a chance to compete in the playoffs after that.
Perhaps Darling’s comments come amid frustration of Chicago’s five-year playoff drought in non-pandemic-altered seasons. The Blues have made playoffs in four of those five years and have won seven of eight head-to-head matchups with the Blackhawks dating back to 2019.