Few things excite NHL fans more than a rivalry between two well-matched teams. Notable rivalries—the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins—have contributed to some of the NHL's greatest moments.
Over the years, the NHL has done its part by playing up these rivalries, especially for its television audience. NBC Sports' "Wednesday Night Rivalry” draws solid ratings. Last year, Forbes.com's Michael Ozanian reported the NHL's Rivalry Week was the hottest new brand in sports. CBC recently reported the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings drew the league's largest non-playoff game audience. And games between rivals continue to draw well.
While some rivalries maintain their excitement and high level of competition, several have failed to play up to the hype. There's several reasons for this. One or both clubs experience a decline in their on-ice fortunes. Players that contributed to the intensity of a rivalry depart via trade, free agency or retirement. Franchise relocation or divisional realignment can also take a toll.
Here's a ranking of 10 NHL rivalries that have become overrated over time.