"To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy." Sun Tzu (544-496 B.C.)
Author of The Art of War, the ancient Chinese General undoubtedly knew a few things about combat. And the timeless strategies he provided in his legendary tome can also be applied in modern times.
Particularly by the most heated rivals of the New York Rangers.
Unfortunately, the National Hockey League is involved in a lockout that will keep the puck from dropping for an indefinite period. Not exactly the ideal circumstances for teams looking to beat the Blueshirts as often as possible.
But there are five franchises in particular that are most upset about losing out on their opportunities to beat Gotham's best.
Read on to find out who they are—and how Sun Tzu's tactics directly apply to their quests to conquer the enemy.
"What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy."
This is something the Philadelphia Flyers weren't particularly good at last season against the Rangers, as they lost all six meetings against them.
And the video above from last season's Winter Classic serves as a microcosm of their frustration.
The boys in black and orange know they have something to prove against their long-time rivals.
“They're a pretty good team defensively and we haven't really scored a lot of goals against them. Lundqvist is a pretty good goalie and we gotta figure out a way to get past him.”
“Well, I think they've given lots of teams fits. We've taken our share. They've had a strong year. They've played well at home, played well on the road; that's why they sit where they sit.”
And that's why Broad Street needs to do a much better job of attacking Broadway's strategy once hockey comes back.
They're looking to get their edge back in a war that's been waged for the last 45 years.
Up Next: This team wants to give the Rangers one hell of a time.
"He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight."
The Devils have plenty of fight in them, as the video above will attest to. And they'd like nothing more than to face off against their Hudson River rivals.
The sooner the better.
There are many things that makes this rivalry one of the best in hockey. But the coaches disdain for one another is certainly near the top of the list. Devils bench boss Peter DeBoer didn't pull any punches when he discussed the punches that took place on March 19, 2012.
"I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same here. He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."
Or he's just trying to fan the flames of this super-intense rivalry. One that that Devils want to resume as soon as possible.
Momentum is on their side after last season's playoffs. And they want to keep it going.
Up Next: This team wants to prove their not on an island unto themselves.
“If you are strong, appear weak. But if you are weak, appear strong.”
The later applies to the New York Islanders, one of the Rangers fiercest rivals for the past four decades.
The teams have been lopsided in the standings for awhile now. And the Rangers went 4-1-1 against the crew from Uniondale a year ago.
However, when these two teams get together, the Isles always play for keeps. These games make their season. Like the one in the video above, when John Tavares netted a hat trick last October, which helped the Islanders win 4-2.
The team in blue and orange needs more of these types of games.
"You have to stay positive and keep moving forward," Capuano claimed.
That's how the weak appear strong.
Up Next: For this team, not being able to play the Rangers is the Pitts.
"The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."
This was absolutely the case in 2012, when the Pittsburgh Penguins went 4-2-0 against the Rangers.
No doubt they want that trend to continue.
This rivalry has had its share of contentiousness over the years. And last season didn't do anything to change that.
Thanks to Brooks Orpik.
Check out the video above to see his knee-to-knee hit on Rangers pivot Derek Stepan.
"That's one of the most arrogant organizations in sports," Tortorella bristled. "They whine about this stuff all the time. It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they? Starting with their two ... stars."
In the same article, Tortorella questioned:
"I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars?"
The enemy himself keeping protecting his players.
Up Next: This team is growling to get their chance at the Rangers.
"If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril."
Perhaps the Boston Bruins were a bit ignorant when it came to their games against the Rangers last season, as the Blueshirts rung up a 3-1-0 record against the team that came into the season as the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The overtime winner in Boston by Marian Gaborik last January shown above was a climactic ending to one of the battle royals these teams waged against each other in 2012.
The B's would like nothing better than to get their claws on the Rangers. But their head coach Claude Julien knows that it won't be easy to take them down.
Here's what he said at msg.com last season:
"The goaltending is strong for New York. The Rangers have depth at every position with no issues. Defensively, they’ve been really strong and they’re not afraid to play a physical game. Some of their young players have developed and gotten better. It’s about maturity and that’s what we went through a few years back. We had some challenging times but we grew through it all and eventually we were able to persevere. That’s what I see from them.”
The Bruins could be in peril because of it. But they're a proud team that wants to redeem itself against Gotham.
Up Next: The Bonus Slide - You wouldn't want to be in their shoes.
In hockey's hottest rivalries, the fans can really get involved.
Sometimes, too involved.
Case in point, the video above.
Here's an article about the game from The New York Times.
You'll find a look back at notable games in the Rangers-Islanders rivalry here.
And, here's an article on one player who knows the Rangers-Devils rivalry just as well as anyone.
Plus, take a look at five memorable moments from the Rangers-Flyers rivalry.