Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Problems with the Caps-Pens rivalry

If you catch a rare ESPN segment where they talk about hockey, Pittsburgh and Washington are probably the featured teams. Washington, Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh, Washington. Sometimes, listening to Barry Melrose talking about Crosby and Ovechkin just makes you want to pull off that ridiculous hair of his and lend it to Pierre McGuire, because of the obnoxious glare you see on TV with the arena lights shining on his head (thanks to @retroguy777, I may have borrowed that). Either way, here's a list of problems with the Washington-Pittsburgh rivalry.

ESPN - Anytime ESPN says something about hockey, assume the opposite. Here, they say the Caps-Pens rivalry is the league's best.

Scandals - Usually, a crazy game or playoff series occurs, which brews a rivalry, sometimes involving officials. In this rivalry, Pittsburgh wins because the scandal with always go one way.

Lop-sided results - The Caps have owned Pittsburgh for much of the regular season recently. The playoffs do balance that, however.

All about the stars - Let's face it, the rivalry would be nothing without Crosby and Ovechkin. Now, if, say, Matt Cooke were to brutally knock out a Cap or John Erskine were to wickedly own a Penguin in a fight, then there'd be something to look forward to.

Mario Lemieux - If you listen to Mario and league keeps handling situations the way they do, he's selling the Penguins, which naturally leads to bankruptcy and the relocation of the franchise, thus destroying the rivalry. Um, Gary, this is where you step in and fix everything...

Relevance - Just because they're the only two teams in hockey not in Chicago doesn't mean they hate each other.

Divisions - Although they both used to play in the Patrick division, they are in seperate divisions now. Washington gets to play in huge hockey markets, such as Atlanta and Miami.


- Back in the 1970s and 1980s, teams would just start brawls with each other. To avoid having the entire roster of a team suspended and relying on minor leaguers, the teams should avoid this, unless you're like Pittsburgh and you already have a minor league roster on your NHL team, then you really need to be careful.

- The Pittsburgh Penguins badly need a superstar on their team. Right now, Alex Ovechkin is the only relevant player in the rivalry. Too bad Pittsburgh doesn't have one of those...

- You can't just create a rivalry because it amuses Gary Bettman, it needs to develop over time. They've met in the playoffs once, if they do again, two things will be certain: a) The rivalry will become more intense and b) Washington won't play anyone else that season after that series.

- There needs to be bad blood, not just from the seats, but from the people involved with the teams. It's a shame neither team has an owner willing to openly come out and criticize things...

- Not only is the rivalry lop-sided, but if you take the two stars, Crosby and Ovechkin, their facial-hair-growing-ability is as well. If you averaged them together, you'd probably come up with two average human beings.

- To make this the best rivalry in the NHL, the easiest thing for Gary Bettman to do is simply get rid of the Original Six.

- For fans' amusement, Mike Milbury should coach one of the teams and Pierre McGuire should coach the other. Pierre would only have to move over twenty feet from where he already stands and annoys players.

- If they listen to me about the Milbury/McGuire one, make sure everyone brings extra Tylenol.