It’s always been said that the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have the most heated rivalry in sports. Well, that might be true over the course of some decades, but lately, no two teams in sports hate each other more than the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins; and trust me, hate is an understatement.
Fans around the Delaware Valley remember quite vividly the actions that spawned in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2012. For those of you who don’t, let me make it simple for you. Jakub Voracek‘s glove hits the ice and Sidney Crosby shoves it out of Voracek’s reach. Claude Giroux didn’t like it, so he and Crosby squared off. Following the loss to the Flyers, Crosby was quoted saying, “I don’t like any guy on their team.”
Even the coaches like to go at it every now and then. Just about a week and a half before that playoff series started, Tony Granato and Peter Laviolette had a nice verbal exchange when they both stood up on the boards pointing, yelling and threatening. As comical as it is to look back on, it was quite thrilling to watch from a fan’s standpoint.
My personal favorite memory of this rivalry came just a few games later in Game 6 of that Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Nothing set the tone quite like Giroux’s hit on Crosby right after the opening faceoff. Just seconds after that, he blasts one right into the back of the net.
To me, there’s a difference between rivalries and hatred, and what the Flyers and Penguins posses is sheer hatred. These two teams have a hard enough time dealing with each other in one game. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s going to be like having to deal with each other all weekend.