Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The NHL's Best Rivalries

Oh oops.  My picture editor forgot this is my rivalries post, not Team Nobody's Ever Heard Of post.
 With tonight being the first meeting of the season between the Devils and Rangers, I thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight some of the other big rivalries in the NHL.  You know, rivalries that have rich histories of playoff battles and brutal moments, many of which date back 30 years or more...or 30 months in the case of Washington and Pittsburgh.

Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks

  • When these teams meet, the Sedin's always ask the Canucks coaching staff who they'll be matched up against.  When the coaches tell the Sedin's they'll be matched up against Calgary's top line, they always draw a blank stare from the Sedin's.
  • Roberto Luongo often makes Calgary's top line look better than Vancouver's.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • Every rivalry has an "X-factor" to it.  With the B's/Habs rivalry, we know Boston has the size advantage and we know Montreal has the speed advantage.  Montreal also owns the X-factor: the Bell Centre stanchions.
  • I wonder if Habs fans realize that the Bruins coach speaks French and the Habs coach doesn't...

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

  • They say it's a rivalry, but I always thought both teams had to show up for it to be considered a rivalry...
  • This rivalry is nothing more than fan hype.  After all, Peter Chiarelli and Brian Burke are always doing each other favors.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks

  • This rivalry doesn't have the same intensity this season, because Anaheim keeps letting the Kings score, but the Kings keep refusing.  At least it seems that way.
  • The only tempers in this rivalry is when Bruce Boudreau calls out everyone except Teemu Selanne for falling asleep on the ice.
  • Do the Kings have a new coach yet???

Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • For the first time in nearly a year, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both showed up for a game.  Unfortunately, neither lasted three weeks before they re-entered hibernation...sort of.
  • At the alumni game before the Winter Classic, players kept asking each other "wait, since when are we actually rivals?"

Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks

  • Pavel Datsyuk has recently become angered at Patrick Kane for trying to be as good as him in shootouts.
  • Marian Hossa won a Cup with the Blackhawks, after almost winning one with the Red Wings who lost to Pittsburgh, after almost winning one with Pittsburgh who lost to the Red Wings.

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils

  • This is reportedly a rivalry, although nobody outside of the New York area has been able to prove it due to the inevitable Penguins vs. Coyotes or Blackhawks vs. Stars game that's on national TV.
  • The two teams' arenas are separated by just 7 miles door-to-door, which is almost as long as the hockey stick David Clarkson used to use and about the width of Henrik Lundqvist's pads.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Superstars from both teams are usually sidelined with concussions, even if the player knocks himself out.
  • One fan base has existed for 40 years while the other has never heard of a two line pass.