NHL Power Rankings: Each Team's Most Hated Rival
Most teams have one rival that they just itch to beat. When they meet, it is a game to watch because it's bound to be action filled and extremely entertaining. Games like these make the WWE look tame in comparison.
Granted, there are also teams that don't have an intense, ingrained hatred towards any one team but everyone has at least one rival that pushes them to play harder and skate faster.
So who is each team's most hated rival? The one they live to beat? Let's take a look.
Flyers vs. Penguins
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The Pennsylvania Rivalry is always fun to watch and there's no doubt the two teams hate each other. The Pittsburgh Penguins versus Philadelphia Flyers games are circled on all Pennsylvania calendars (and even some outside of the state).
Some rivalries are only one sided but a Pennsylvania match up definitely has major hatred on both sides of the ice.
Rangers vs. Islanders
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There is nothing like seeing fans get into a rivalry during a game and the New Yorkers take it to a whole new level with both fights and organized chants.
As the Islanders and the Rangers are in the same division, these two teams have a lot of time on the ice together which leaves even more time for fans to make up more "creative" chants and throw punches.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators
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Toronto and Ottawa love a good rivalry and this one has lasted through the ages between the two cities, even when a hockey rivalry wasn't available (they turned to football in that era).
The rivalry originated before the NHL with the original Ottawa Senators and is still strong today. While the rivalry hasn't been as strong in recent years with both teams struggling, the games they play are still circled on calendars and fans are just waiting for the right minute to follow the example of players on the ice and go in for the kill.
Bruins vs. Canadiens
The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have seen a lot of each other, playing each other more than any other pair of teams in the sport. It is one of the greatest rivalries in sports and has lasted since the 1950s with rarely any interruptions.
The games last season showed that this rivalry is still alive and well with the fight between Tim Thomas and Carey Price (a game that also had six fights and 187 penalty minutes handed out) and the infamous Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty.
It is safe to say that this rivalry will probably go on for years to come.
Tampa Bay vs. Washington Capitals
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While the Capitals also have a player rivalry with the Penguins, the Tampa Bay rivalry is an intense divisional one. The rivalry was renewed in 2007-08 when then-Capital Matt Cooke blindsided Vincent Leacaviler.
The rivalry has continued with Capital's Alex Ovechkin's hot stick celebration in 2009 and Matt Bradley stepping into an Ovechkin fight against Steve Downie in 2010.
The rivalry continued last season with the Lightning sweeping the Capitals in the playoffs.
Blackhawks vs. Red Wings
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A rivalry that has existed since 1926-27, the Blackhawks (who have also been forming a healthy rivalry with the Canucks over the past few postseasons) and the Red Wings (who seem to have forgotten about their Colorado rivalry) have most recently battled it out in the Central division.
The teams are only separated by 283 miles and have a slew of Hall of Famers and championships behind them. This rivalry still lives in every fan of the teams.
The rivalry has been pretty quiet the last few years with no big signs but there has been some irony involved. In 2008 and 2009, Detroit played the Penguins in the Cup final (winning in 2008) and in 2010 the Blackhawks played the Penguin's biggest rival in the Flyers during the Cup Final series.
This may not be an all guns blazing rivalry but it may be one of the oldest of all the rivalries in the league.
Oilers vs. Flames
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The Battle of Alberta has its roots in all things Alberta, including hockey. If you are a fan of one team, it is pretty much a rule that you can't be the fan of the other one.
While the two teams have cooled down a bit over the last few years, it is obvious the rivalry is still alive when looking at the comments of those associated with the teams.
"This is such a great rivalry and it's a great opportunity to be a part of the Battle of Alberta and I think our guys have identified with that all year long," Tom Renney, Oilers head coach, told the Oilers Update in April.
Each team may have satellite rivalries that they focus on, but the Battle of Alberta is definitely their biggest.
Ducks vs. Kings
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The rivalry isn't highly publicized like some others but its alive and well with Ducks fans rubbing in their Stanley Cup every chance they get.
With the rinks only an hour apart, there is a lot of interaction between fans at games. And the teams being in the same division also helps foster the growing rivalry.
Canucks vs. Wild
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I'm not sure if this rivalry can really be considered as such anymore but for according to Gordon McIntyre, it still exists.
"One only has to visit the Land of Lakes when the Canucks are there (or write unkindly about the Wild from a Vancouver placeline) to witness first-hand how much Wild fans still loathe anything to do with the Canucks." McIntyre wrote on The White Towel last October.
The rivalry started in the early 2000s and the teams facing off many times each season seems to have pushed it along. While many are wondering if this rivalry still exists, it seems that some fans will never forget it.
Devils vs. Rangers
While the Rangers are programmed to hate the Islanders, the New Jersey Devils hate them. The teams heat things up whenever they meet, something that definitely isn't helped by Martin Brodeur's intense hatred of anything to do with Sean Avery.
The Devils would like nothing better than to give every Ranger a piece of his mind (and many fans would probably love to see the fireworks), but for now we'll watch some Avery vs. Brodeur action.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Red Wings
While the Detroit Red Wings have moved on to bigger and better rivalries, Colorado still holds intense hatred for the Detroit Red Wings 15 years after their major brawl and ensuing rivalry.
While the Avalanche have fallen off the map when it comes to being competitive enough to garner any real interest from the Red Wings, Colorado fans hold out hope that when their team comes back, they can show Detroit just what they are made of after all these years.
Sharks vs. Ducks
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It's obvious that the Ducks' No. 1 rival is the Kings, probably due to the proximity of the two teams and the feeling of animosity from the Kings that the Ducks moved into their "territory" and went on to be successful.
But now it's time to throw the third California team into the rivalry talk and there's no doubt the Sharks biggest rival is the Ducks. The Sharks have an extremely talented roster right now but still have to fight with the Ducks every step of the way (granted, they did win the division by six points last season).
This isn't a huge hatred like some of the others on here, but it definitely has the potential to be as the teams continue to battle it out in the years to come.
Nashville Predators vs. Red Wings
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Once again we circle back to a team that hates the Red Wings. Sure, the Nashville Predators don't have the massive hatred against them that the Avalanche do, but the Red Wings have turned out to be the team that pushes them to the breaking point (and sometimes past it).
Even a site devoted entirely to the Predators admits that the Red Wings are the team's biggest rival in the league right now.
"Again…this had happened again. Another collapse after being up by multiple goals and this time to a team that is, by far, the Nashville Predators largest rival. The Nashville Predators had just lost their NHL-leading EIGHTH game after holding a lead after the second period." The Predatorial said after an early April game against the Red Wings.
I agree that this isn't a kick butt, kill everyone rivalry that some other teams have but it looks like the Predators finally have someone that they can hate so much that it pushes them to play their best, at least until one of the teams leave the division.
Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks
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The Dallas Stars have one team on their mind when looking at the schedule, the San Jose Sharks.
While the Sharks seem content to focus on their rivalry with the Kings, the Stars have set their sights on a rivalry with the Sharks, something the Dallas Morning News is loving.
Multiple times last season, the games came down to overtime to decide who the winner was going to be, something that may have encouraged the rivalry even more. This is another one sided rivalry but if the Stars can find a way to challenge the Sharks in coming years when it comes to the division fight, it may just be a rivalry to watch.
Blue Jackets vs. Predators
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Honestly, the Blue Jackets haven't formed a real rivalry yet. However, it does seem that they may be growing one with the Nashville Predators.
The rivalry isn't only noticed by one team, however. Predators fans, such as the Predlines admit there is some sort of rivalry and that's helped along by many of their games needing overtimes or shootouts to determine a winner a few seasons ago.
This may not be a to the death, "can't root for anything to do with the Predators" type of rivalry and the Predators may not see them as their biggest rival (that honor goes to the Red Wings), but there is definitely something there on the Blue Jackets side of the fence.
If they stay in the same conference, look for this to get more intense as the years go by.
St. Louis Blues vs. Blackhawks
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Some rivalries are helped along by the cities the teams play in and that's the case for the St. Louis Blues hating the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks are hated by St. Louis fans and their rivalry goes back to the Blues' entrance into the NHL. Many fans still fondly think about the St. Patrick's Day Massacre, a day of more fighting than hockey, when speaking of their rivalry.
The Blackhawks main rival may be the Detroit Red Wings, but the Blues have a hatred for the Blackhawks.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
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When watching a Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game, you can't help but notice how heated it gets on the Sabres' side.
This is another rivalry fostered by city location as you can see from fans on both sides at the games. The Sabres side of this may even add a little football jealousy to this rivalry as the Bills go to Toronto every year to play.
If there's one thing you don't want to mess with when it comes to Americans, it's football, especially when it comes to sharing a team.
This is more of a lopsided rivalry with the Sabres more into it than the Leafs, who have their own provincial rival to hate. But there is no doubt that when the Leafs are in town, the Sabres and their fans heat up the game.
Coyotes vs. Jets
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While this is a rivalry that hasn't had any time to get heated yet, considering the Jets haven't had a chance to step on the ice, it will probably form extremely quickly.
First of all, you already have Winnipeggers hating the Coyotes for stealing their team. That's strike one.
Second, there were rumors that the Coyotes would be returning to Winnipeg before the Thrashers were bought up and moved. Strike two.
The only thing keeping strike three from happening so soon is the separate division (and conference) of the two. But with an ingrained bitterness between the two, they should become hated rivals in no time. The NHL is even helping this little rivalry begin by having the Jets play the Coyotes at the Coyotes home opener this season.
Let the games begin.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers
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This rivalry could be disputed as it doesn't seem that Carolina has any "true" rivals other than the divisional ones we see everywhere and the Florida Panthers aren't really super competitive against the Canes most of the time.
However, it is believed that when the Hurricanes and Panthers trade players, the teams are "helping the enemy".
This really isn't a rivalry for the ages and is only helped along by the division they are in but sometimes division rivalries can step up when both teams finally hit their stride, something that the Panthers haven't really been able to do.