Monday, 3 March 2008

Best Rivalries

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. This adage holds true in a lot of life's moments, and it certainly holds true in the microcosm that is the NHL. Rivalries are born out of the number of times that teams face one another, and the proximity of the cities. The closer that the cities and/or teams are to one another, the better the rivalry due to fans travelling between the cities. There are a number of excellent rivalries that have been drawn up over the years in the NHL. Whether it be the Battle of Alberta, the Battle of Ontario, or the Pennsylvania Cold War, NHL fans have turned up the heat on the games between the neighbouring cities and teams.

The Battle of Alberta: The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames started this rivalry way back in the early 1980s when Edmonton was winning Stanley Cups. It could be said that the Calgary Flames had the best team outside of Edmonton as they routinely fell just short of beating their provincial rivals. The dislike these two teams have for one another continues through to today.

The Battle of Ontario: The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs really developed this rivalry in the late 1990s with their constant meetings in the playoffs. The Senators and Leafs always seem to get up for games against one another, and it's always entertaining.

Pennsylvania Cold War: The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins really started heating this rivalry up in 2006-07 with the emergence of Sidney Crosby. However, the Penguins and Flyers of the early 1990s really didn't like one another either. With the rejuvenation of the youth movement in both cities, this rivalry looks to stay red-hot for the next few years. Oh, and by the way, don't anger Gary Roberts. Ever.

Western Conference War: If you mention the name "Claude Lemieux", people instantly think of the the Western Conference Playoffs involving Detroit and Colorado. While this rivalry has cooled recently with Colorado's rebuilding phase, the intensity of this matchup in the late 1990s was one for the ages.

Are there other rivalries? Sure, without doubt. However, these ones seem to always get players pumped up. Again, familiarity breeds contempt, and all of these teams see each other many times throughout the season. What other sport can claim rivalries as intense and heated as these?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


the 2 Man Advantage said...

How could you forget about Rangers/Islanders. It starts again, tonight!

Kerry said...

Buddy---The Rangers vrs The Devils.
A total of nine games in the 94 ever