Love To Hate You: NHL Players Who Have Been on Both Sides of a Rivalry
When then-Flyers forward Arron Asham shook hands with Sidney Crosby at the end of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, neither had any idea that Asham would trade in the orange and black for the black and gold for the 2010-2011 season.
Likewise, Martin Biron probably wasn't even considering going from Long Island to Broadway after the 2009-2010 campaign drew to a close.
Asham and Biron are two of the players who have signed with their former teams' biggest rivals to get a fresh start.
This is not something uncommon in NHL history, but when it happens, it is always fun to watch for fans of both teams.
Once upon a time, you were an NHL fan who loved a player on your favorite team. But when he jumped ship for the team you hate the most, you suddenly loved to hate him...or hated to love him, depending on how strong your loyalties are.
I decided to research players who have played on both sides of some of the NHL's most known rivalries.
But I had two rules:
I only researched current NHL players, so players who have retired are not included in this list.
I did not include anybody who signed with a rival this offseason.
I hope you enjoy this list, and please feel free to let me know if you have more examples of players who jumped ship. If you were the fan who found yourself choosing team loyalty vs. player loyalty, even better.
The Rivalry: Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks
Bertuzzi spent eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. In 518 games, he recorded 449 points. He was named to two NHL All-Star Games in 2003 and 2004. In 2002, he set a Canucks franchise record for the longest point streak in team history and recorded 19 points from January 3-February 4.
He also appeared in the playoffs with Vancouver for three straight years from 2001-2003, and the furthest the team went was to the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals. He had 14 points in 24 playoff games.
As we all know, Bertuzzi ended his time in Vancouver on a low note. In a matchup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2004, he went after Colorado forward Steve Moore, who denied to fight Bertuzzi in retaliation for a hit on Markus Naslund in a previous game. Bertuzzi punched Moore in the back of the head and knocked him to the ice, and Moore was further injured when players from both teams jumped on to the pile. Moore has not played since.
Although Bertuzzi tearfully apologized shortly after the incident and served a lengthy suspension, it was hard to put the past in the past when the 2005-2006 season started. Bertuzzi was booed and taunted in visiting arenas, especially by Avalanche fans. He ended up being traded to the Florida Panthers prior to the 2006-2007 season.
Bertuzzi played 66 games with the Flames in the 2008-2009 season. He had 44 points in 66 games, but he missed the end of the regular season after having arthroscopic knee surgery in March 2009. He returned for the playoffs and had two points in six games, but the Flames lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Rivalry: Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles: 1999-2001
Blake spent two years with the Los Angeles Kings, where he had 28 points in 82 games. The Kings went to the playoffs in 2000, where they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Blake played in three playoff games, but had no points.
Blake goes into the 2010-2011 season with two more years on his contract; he is signed with Anaheim until 2012. This year, he had 15 points in 26 games after being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Rivalry: Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning
Boyle played in 129 games with the Panthers over three seasons. He had 39 points, but did not get to see any playoff action with the often struggling Panthers.
Tampa Bay: 2001-2008
Boyle was traded to Tampa Bay during the 2001-2002 season. He played in 394 games where he had 253 points. In 2004, he was a key part of the Lightning's Stanley Cup team, posting 39 points in 78 regular season games and 10 points in 23 playoff games.
He also went to the playoffs with the Bolts in 2003, 2006, and 2007, giving him 22 points in 45 playoff games in Tampa. However, in those other three appearances, the Lightning could not get further than the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Upon making the second round in 2003, they lost to the New Jersey Devils in five games as the Devils went on to capture their second Stanley Cup in three years.
The Rivalry: New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers
New Jersey: 1999-2007
Gomez came into New Jersey with a bang during the 1999-200 season. Not only was he a part of the Devils' Stanley Cup championship, he had 70 points in 82 games, earning him an appearance in the NHL All-Star Game and the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL's outstanding rookie.
In 2000-2001, he had 63 points in the regular season, but did not play in the playoffs due to an injury. The Devils went back to the Stanley Cup Finals, which still gave Gomez a chance to get his name on the Cup again, but New Jersey lost the chance of a repeat to the Colorado Avalanche.
The third time was once again the charm in 2003. Not only did he improve on his 2001-2002 total of 48 points by posting 63 points, the Devils went to the Finals again, this time against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He had 12 points in 23 playoff games as the Devils won their second Stanley Cup in three years.
New York: 2007-2009
Gomez left New Jersey after the 2006-2007 season to move to the Big Apple. In two seasons, he played 156 games and posted 128 points.
However, he did not get to experience the same playoff success he had in New Jersey. The Rangers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, they surrendered a 3-1 series lead to the Washington Capitals. He left the Rangers with 16 points in 17 playoff games.
Gomez represented New York in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game held in Atlanta.
The Rivalry: Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins
Gonchar spent the first 10 years of his career with the Washington Capitals, where he became one of the franchise's most successful defensemen.
Gonchar went to the playoffs with the Capitals six times, and they even went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. However, they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings, who repeated their 1997 championship.
In the 1998-1999 season, Gonchar became the first Russian defenseman to score more than 20 goals in the regular season. He finished the year with 21 goals and 31 points in 53 games.
Gonchar was also selected to represent the Capitals in four consecutive NHL All-Star Games from 2001-2004. He finished his Capitals career with 416 points in 654 regular season games and 31 points in 51 playoff games.
In Pittsburgh, Gonchar established himself as a power play quarterback. 37 of his 53 goals, or 70 percent, came on the power play.
He was part of a Penguins team that played the Red Wings in the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins lost to Detroit in six games in 2008, but in 2009, they gave the Wings an evenly fought seven games and won their first Stanley Cup in 17 years. The win marked Gonchar's first career Stanley Cup.
Gonchar represented the Penguins in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game held in Atlanta.
The Rivalries: Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks
Hossa was traded from the Atlanta Thrashers to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008. He immediately made an impact on his new team, scoring 10 points in 12 playoff games.
During the Stanley Cup Finals, he produced at an even higher level by scoring 26 points in 20 games as the Penguins lost to the Red Wings in six games.
Red Wings: 2008-2009
Hossa believed he had a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup when he joined the defending champions prior to the 2008-2009 season.
He once again fared well in the regular season, scoring 71 points in 74 games, an improvement on his 66 points in the 2007-2008 season. However, he was not able to capitalize on his postseason success from the previous years and tallied 15 points in 23 games.
When the Penguins beat the Red Wings to earn the 2009 Stanley Cup, many thought Hossa was foolish and a traitor.
But there was something special in the cards...
In the summer of 2009, Hossa signed a controversial 12-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, the contract is one of many currently under investigation by the NHL.
But that wasn't on Hossa's mind. He had 51 points in 57 regular season games and finally earned his Cup when the Hawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. He finished playoffs with 15 points in 22 games, tying his total from the 2009 playoffs.
Hossa was the first player in NHL history to go to the Finals three years in a row with three different teams.
The Rivalry: Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins
Johnson spent four seasons in Washington. He played 96 games as a backup goaltender and posted a record of 34-41-12. He averaged a .902 save percentage and 3.13 GAA in those games.
Although the Capitals went to the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, he did not see any playing time during the postseason.
Johnson played 23 games in his first season with Pittsburgh as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. He had a record of 10-6-1 and put up a .906 save percentage and 2.76 GAA.
During the playoffs, he replaced Fleury in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. He posted a .857 save percentage and 1.94 GAA as the Penguins were eliminated from the postseason. However, Johnson was not credited with the loss since he came in a little more than halfway through the game.
He is under contract with Pittsburgh until the 2011-2012 season.
The Rivalry: Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals
Knuble was a member of the Flyers for four seasons. He posted 221 points in 310 regular season games and was a part of three postseason runs in 2006, 2008, and 2009. The furthest the Flyers went in that time was to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Penguins.
In addition to his 221 regular season points, he had 14 points in 24 playoff games.
Knuble served as an alternate captain during his first season with the Capitals. He had 53 points in 69 games during the regular season and posted six points in seven playoff games as the Caps lost to the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
He has one more year remaining on his contract with Washington.
The Rivalry: Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs
In 361 games with the Canadiens, Komisarek had 58 points. Although that doesn't look good on paper, he was still semi-successful during his time in Montreal.
Komisarek went to the playoffs four times as a member of the Canadiens. The team went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2004 and 2008, but lost to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, respectively. He tallied three points in 29 playoff games.
Komisarek also represented the Canadiens in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, which was held at Bell Centre as part of the Canadiens' 100th anniversary celebration.
Komisarek is currently in a five-year contract with the Maple Leafs. He finished his first season in Toronto with four points in 34 games. He missed the majority of the season with injuries.
The Rivalry: Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks
Kopecky had 32 points in 183 games with the Red Wings.
During the Wings' Stanley Cup season in 2008, Kopecky tore his ACL during a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He underwent surgery to repair the damage, missing the entire 2008 playoff run. However, he still got his name on the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.
This past season, Kopecky posted 21 points in 74 games during his first season with the Blackhawks. He had six points in 17 playoff games to win his second Stanley Cup before turning 30 (he is currently 28 years old).
He is going into the second year of a two-year contract with Chicago and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The Rivalry: New York Rangers and New York Islanders
In four years with the Rangers, Poti played in 231 games and had 113 points.
He had no points in four playoff games in the 2006 postseason as the Rangers were swept by New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Poti played one season with the Islanders and had 44 points in 78 regular season games.
He managed to produce more in the Isles' 2007 playoff run with three points in five games. However, it was not enough. The Islanders lost to the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and have not appeared in the postseason since.
The Rivalries: Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins
Pittsburgh: 1988-1992 and 2005-2007
Recchi played his first stint with Pittsburgh in 1988, but joined the team full time for the 1989-1990 season.
From 1988-1992, he had 147 points in 210 games and represented the Penguins in the 1991 NHL All-Star Game. He also had 34 points in 24 playoff games as the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. It was the only playoff run he was a part of during his first time in Pittsburgh.
Recchi returned to the Penguins for the 2005-2006 season after spending time with the Canadiens and Flyers. After posting 57 points in 63 games for a struggling Penguins team, he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he had seven points in 20 games and won his second Stanley Cup.
He came back again for the start of the 2006-2007 season and stayed until he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers after 19 games in the 2007-2008 season. He had 76 points in 101 games.
Overall, Recchi played 389 games with the Penguins and posted 385 points.
Philadelphia: 1992-1995 and 1999-2004
Recchi was traded to the Flyers from the Penguins during the 1991-1992 season and posted 27 points in 22 games.
The next year, he had one of the best years of his career. His 123 points in 1992-1993 set a Flyers franchise record for regular season scoring. He followed that up with 107 points in 1993-1994 and was selected to the NHL All-Star Game both years for his outstanding performances.
However, the Flyers did not qualify for the playoffs from 1992-1994. He concluded his first stint with the Flyers with 262 points in 200 games.
Recchi returned to the Flyers after being traded from Montreal in 1999. Although his offensive output was not as high, he still had 365 points in 402 regular season games.
He also finally got to see postseason action with Philadelphia. The Flyers went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000 and 2004, but lost to New Jersey and Tampa Bay, respectively. In 65 playoff games with Philadelphia, Recchi put up 39 points.
Recchi was traded to Montreal from the Flyers in 1995. He came to his new team by posting 43 points in 39 games, but the Habs failed to qualify for the playoffs in the 1994-1995 season.
However, they made the playoffs for three years from 1996-1998. Recchi had 24 points in 21 postseason games. The team reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1998, but lost to the Buffalo Sabres in five games.
He represented Montreal in three straight NHL All-Star Games from 1997-1999. Overall, he played in 346 games with the Canadiens and had 322 points.
Recchi rounds out his journey to some of the biggest rivals in the NHL by stopping in Beantown.
He was traded to the Bruins from the Lightning in 2009 and had 16 points in 18 games. He also had six points in 11 playoff games, but Boston fell to the Carolina Hurricanes.
In this year's playoffs, Recchi became the oldest NHL player to score a postseason goal and have a multi-point game in the playoffs. He had two goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Flyers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
This offseason, Recchi signed another one-year deal with the Bruins. He stated he feels the Bruins will be a serious contender to win a Cup in the 2010-2011 season.
The Rivalry: Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins
Ryder spent four seasons with Montreal from 2003-2008. He finished with 207 points in 314 games.
In the postseason, he had eight points in 21 games. The Canadiens made two runs to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2004 and the 2008 seasons, but they lost to the Lightning and the Flyers in their appearances.
In 2010-2011, Ryder will be entering the final year of his three-year contract with Boston. So far, he has posted 86 points in 156 games.
He also has 18 points in 24 playoff games. The Bruins have lost in the second year of the playoffs two years in a row, losing to the Hurricanes in 2009 and suffering an embarrassing loss to the Flyers this season after dropping a 3-0 series lead.
The Rivalry: Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks
Anaheim: 1995-2001 and 2005-present
Selanne came to Anaheim back when the franchise was known as the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He was traded from the now-defunct Winnipeg Jets in 1995 and had 36 points in 28 games after being traded.
During Selanne's first time in Anaheim, the Ducks barely had any postseason success. They missed the playoffs three times, and the furthest they went in the postseason was to the Western Conference Semifinals in 1997. However, they were swept by the Red Wings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.
After three seasons with the San Jose Sharks and the NHL lockout, Selanne re-signed with the Ducks for the 2005-2006 season. Since his return, the Ducks have been to the Stanley Cup playoffs in four out of the last five seasons and won their first Cup in franchise history in 2007, when they defeated the Ottawa Senators.
In the book "Then Wayne Said to Mario: The Greatest Stanley Cup Stories Ever Told", it is said that when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup, Selanne sat on the bench and wept. It took 15 years of hard work, but he eventually won what he had always dreamed of.
Selanne holds numerous Anaheim franchise records. Some of these records include most career points (743), most points scored in a single postseason run (30 in 2007), and single season points record (109 points in the 1996-1997 season). He has played 711 career games with the Ducks.
During his time in Anaheim, he has been a five-time NHL All-Star (1996-2000) and was named the MVP of the All-Star Game in 1998. He won the 1999 Rocket Richard Trophy after scoring 47 goals, and he won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2006.
San Jose: 2001-2003
The Ducks traded Selanne to San Jose in the 2000-2001 season. He had 13 points in 12 games after being traded.
Overall, he posted 131 points in 176 games with the Sharks. The team went to the playoffs twice, getting to the Western Conference Finals in 2002, where they lost to the Red Wings. He had 10 points in 18 playoff games with San Jose.
The Rivalry: Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers
Stillman only played with the Lightning for one season, but it was a good one. He had 80 points in 81 games and had seven points in 21 playoff games as the Bolts won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
After playing with Carolina (where he won his second Stanley Cup) and Ottawa, Stillman returned to Florida in 2008, this time as a member of the Panthers, where he signed a three-year contract.
He is currently an alternate captain and has 86 points in 121 games. However, the Panthers have not been to the playoffs since 2000, so it has been awhile since he experienced some playoff success.
The Rivalry: Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs
Tucker was a member of the Canadiens for two full seasons after making his NHL debut in the 1995-1996 season. He had 26 points in 105 regular season games.
After the Canadiens missed the playoffs in 1996, they returned to the postseason in 1997. Tucker had no points in four playoff games as the Canadiens lost in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to New Jersey.
Tucker was traded to the Leafs from Tampa Bay in 2000. He had 319 points in 531 playoff games and found slightly more success in the postseason as Toronto went to five straight playoffs from 2000-2004.
The Maple Leafs went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002, but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tucker played 64 playoff games with the Leafs and put up 21 points.