Some of sports’ great rivalries are bred from the scenario of two teams constantly competing for the championship. The Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry was one borne of the success of the two teams, and both squads hated each other from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. But combine that competitive spirit with a complete lack of success, and that tension is enough to put the rivalry over the edge.
The Flyers and Rangers have combined for only three championships since 1940, one since 1975 and none since 1994. For as competitive as these teams are, those numbers are frustratingly low. And who better to take those frustrations out on than the Turnpike rival?
Perhaps that’s why Flyers fans and Rangers fans have so much difficulty getting along – we are too similar. We have watched the lowly Devils win three Stanley Cups since 1994, we have been home to some of hockey’s greatest superstars and been unable to go the distance, we have watched apathetic fan bases in Pittsburgh, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Chicago bathe in glory while we spend our summers wondering why this wasn’t “The Year.”
Whether we admit it or not, there is a mutual respect between the Flyers and Rangers, and the fans of those teams. We know we are not so different after all, and while we may fight, we are among hockey’s most die-hard fans.