It’s been a fierce rivalry for as long as I can remember. No, I’m not talking about Yankees-BoSox. I’m talking about the rivalry of the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers. The Broad Street Bullies and the Broadway Blueshirts have traded everything from players to punches over the years, but this year the rivalry heats up tremendously. In addition to the All-Star game, and the playoffs of course, one of the highlights of the NHL season is the Winter Classic, a game played between two teams outside around New Year’s time in the hometown of one of the two teams participating. This year, the Winter Classic is being played in Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, in the City of Brotherly Love between the Flyers and Rangers. Although when the Winter Classic started in 2008, it didn’t seem like the biggest deal. After all, it was just an outdoor game. Right? Well it evolved quite a bit from that. Now, the NHL likes it when there are rivalries behind the contest (hence last year’s Winter Classic was between Washington and Pittsburgh).
It’s obvious that the rivalry is intense, especially when players start saying things like “there may not be a team in the NHL I hate more than the Philadelphia Flyers” and “everybody hates everybody.” On any given team, you have your, for lack of a better word, “pansy” players who are less prone to fight, and then you have the tougher, more “violent” players. Between the Flyers and Rangers, you’ve got no shortage of such players. Whether it’s Rangers’ pest Sean Avery and forward Brandon Prust, or Flyers’ hothead Zac Rinaldo and toughy Wayne Simmonds, my guess is that there will be no shortage of punches thrown throughout the remaining 5 match-ups between these two teams this year.
In addition to the regular Winter Classic game on January 2nd, ticket holders will be able to attend a Flyers-Rangers Alumni Game, featuring former players of the two teams who have since then retired. For you Flyers’ fans out there, do names like Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Bernie Parent, and Jeremy Roenick ring a bell? I’m sure they do! And for you Rangers’ fans, who could forget Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, John Vanbriesbrouck, and Darius Kasparaitus? Who knows? Maybe Lindros will take revenge on Kasparaitus for giving him that concussion when Kasparaitus was on the Penguins. That game is sure to bring back memories.
Speaking of concussions, as I’m typing this right now, I am one distraught Flyers fan, having the NHL’s leading goal-scorer and Flyers center Claude Giroux sidelined with a concussion and also Chris Pronger, who is one of the veteran defensemen in the NHL and the Flyers captain, out indefinitely with a concussion. As a side point, initial reports today point to the concussion being season-ending, which would mean no Pronger in the playoffs, when perhaps the Flyers need him the most!
Like last year, HBO is doing a special sports series called 24/7 Flyers-Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic, where cameramen follow the two teams around, filming them on and off the ice. You get to see how they go about everyday life! I’m personally very excited to watch the series! You should tune in as well!!
Hope you enjoyed my first of many posts, and if you did enjoy it, you could follow me on Twitter at @PhillyFanNum1!