4 Reasons We Love the Philadelphia Flyers vs. NY Rangers Rivalry
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers have developed one of the best and most heated rivalries in the NHL, and hockey fans love it.
With the Atlantic Division rivals in such close proximity, the players, coaches and fans are an earshot away from all sports media news and whispers stirring the pot at all times.
But the rivalry doesn't stop at hockey.
The Eagles/Giants, Phillies/Mets and Sixers/Knicks have a not-so-friendly relationship, nor do each team's fanbase. Yet hockey is the most physical and punishing rivalry of the four major sports—creating an entertaining game for any diehard hockey fan.
Here are four reasons we love the Flyers vs. Rangers rivalry.
1. Battle of the Broads: A Tale of 2 Cities
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Some refer to the heated rivalry as "Broadway vs. Broad Street." A total of 103 miles separate Philly's Wells Fargo Center and NY's historic Madison Square Garden.
New York plays the role of a cooler, older brother to its younger brother, Philadelphia. The two cities have many differences, yet are eerily similar. Many perceive NY as a white-collar city and Philly being blue-collar, but truthfully, both cities boast a nice blend of workers and personalities from young to old who love their sports teams.
Therefore, the rivalry extends beyond the locker room, as each team's fans are extremely intelligent and passionate about the sport and team history. They eat, sleep and breathe hockey, along with their city's team.
With the fans' similarities and close geographical location, this rivalry should only strengthen over the years, providing much-needed excitement to the game.
2. The Teams Genuinely Dislike One Another
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Let's just say these two teams will not be sitting down for tea and crumpets anytime soon.
According to Hockeyfights, the Philadelphia Flyers have fought the NY Rangers more than any other team in the league with 243 instances and counting. The two have met twice in this abbreviated season, dropping the gloves twice in their first encounter but keeping them on in their last game.
Don't expect these teams to be so cordial the next time around, as both are fighting for a playoff berth.
Not only do the players dislike each other, but also before the 2012 World Classic, Rangers general manager Glen Sather exchanged heated words with Flyers chairman Ed Snider.
These organizations genuinely dislike each other and are not afraid to show it on the ice.
3. The Eric Lindros Soap Opera
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Eric Lindros made it very clear if the Quebec Nordiques were to draft him in 1991-1992, he would not sign with them. The Nordiques drafted him and Lindros stood his ground, holding out and not signing.
Quebec soon realized they would never sign Lindros and on June 20, 1992, he was traded to the Flyers and the Rangers. Yes, he was traded to two teams on the same day—adding fuel to the rivalry.
Both teams were now fighting over the biggest phenom to never play an NHL game.
After the arbitration period, the Flyers executed the biggest trade in the history of the league, sending Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, two draft picks and $15 million for the rights to Lindros.
The Rangers lost.
Lindros would end up playing eight seasons in Philly, posting stellar numbers but never winning a cup. Tension soon built between Lindros and former GM Bobby Clarke, resulting in Lindros sitting out the remainder of his final season as a Flyer.
Clarke would eventually trade the highly-prolific player to the New York Rangers, who finally got their man. The Rangers were never successful with Lindros sporting the blue and white sweater, as he only lasted three seasons with the club.
The Lindros saga is one of the greatest soap operas in NHL's history, taking this rivalry to the next level.
4. Playoff History
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According to FlyersHistory, Philadelphia owns a 27-20 all-time playoff record against the New York Rangers.
Beginning in 1974, the two teams met in one the toughest playoff series in league history. Both teams combined for an NHL playoff record 406 penalty minutes. The Broad Street Bullies proved too strong, as they defeated the Rangers in seven games—on their way to the first of back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Then in 1979, ex-Flyers coach Fred Shero was now leading the Rangers and would face his old team. The Flyers took Game 1 of the series with an overtime victory, but New York swept the next four games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
The last time these rivals met in the postseason was in 1997, and what a playoff series it was. The Flyers were heavily favored despite the Rangers having Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Captain Eric Lindros led the Flyers' high-powered offense, scoring a hat trick in Game 3 and breaking a 2-2 tie with seven seconds remaining in regulation of Game 4. Philly would go on to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final.
In 2010, both teams were tied for the eighth and final playoff spot and fittingly playing each other in the final regular-season game. Win and in. Regulation and overtime were not long enough to end this drama, as a shootout was needed to decide a victor. Philly goalie Brian Boucher would end up stoning Rangers forward Olie Jokinen, sending the Rangers home for the playoffs.
There is a ton of bad blood, trash talking and pure hatred amongst these players as this rivalry continues to grow and entertain us all.