Wayne Simmonds fights Brandon Prust in the Flyers' and Rangers' first of 6 meetings this season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the 2012 NHL Winter Classic a little over a month away, it is clear that the decision to have the Battle of the Broads was a good one. The Flyers and Rangers faced off in the first Winter Classic primer of the year this past Saturday, and it was physical right from the beginning.

Simmonds and Avery were battling before the puck was dropped, and right after the opening puck drop, Zac Rinaldo and Brandon Prust dropped the gloves and took their helmets off. In a good bout, Rinaldo handled himself fairly well against a much bigger Prust. Midway through the first, Simmonds and Avery were back at it again. In a scrum in which there was a lot of pushing and shoving, Prust stepped in while Avery was running his mouth, and Prust started talking as well. Prust and Simmonds both received minors for unsportsmanlike conduct, but that wasn’t the end of it. Right out of the box, they both dropped the gloves for the second fight of the game.

If it isn’t clear enough that these two teams really don’t like each other…

HBO released their teaser for the much anticipated 24/7 Flyers-Rangers after the game on Saturday.

It got real interesting around the 5:40 mark of the video, when Claude Giroux started talking about the rivalry. “There’s teams in the league that you kinda get more excited to play against. I mean the Rangers and the Flyers…Everybody hates everyone.”

Brandon Prust feels the same way: “There might not be a team that I hate more in the NHL than the Philadelphia Flyers.”

Along with Max Talbot: “I know these guys pretty well…Don’t necessarily like them.”

Jody Shelley was the next player to talk. He went a bit more personal, and took a jab at Brandon Dubinsky. “Brandon Dubinsky…plays like a little weasel. He’s a guy you like to get at.”

Shelley served his role, and got under Dubinsky’s skin. From the NY Daily News Monday afternoon: “First of all, if I was him, I’d keep my mouth shut if I don’t play, especially since I never see him on the ice,” Dubinsky said of Shelley, who has played in only 10 of Philadelphia’s 23 games this season. “He’s usually just yapping from the bench, and I guess now he’s yapping from behind the video camera. So that’s about all I have to say.”

That wasn’t all he had to say though. “Jody Shelley – it won’t be long before he’s out of the league, because he’s a terrible hockey player,” he added. He even had a few words to say about Rinaldo, too. “I think he’s an idiot… And I think that, I mean, he’s not really a good hockey player. So if that’s what he tries to do to get under our skin, I don’t think it works very well. He’s not very effective at it. I think they should just keep putting him on the ice, because he’s a liability against us.”

He also had comments on another character guy, Scott Hartnell. “Scott Hartnell is probably the least favorite player on the Philadelphia Flyers.”

Hartsy, as his teammates call him, had some comments for HBO as well, when asked about Sean Avery. “Sean Avery…are we rolling right now” as he said laughing.

Now if it isn’t clear that these teams don’t like each other, well, you’re on your own then.

I’m sure as hell excited for not only January 2nd, but also just the next time these two teams face on December 23rd. I have a good feeling all this trash talking will be converted to bone-crunching hits and fists flying.

This year’s Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park is bound to be a good one.



Follow me on Twitter, @C_Hassard

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