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Braden: Top 5 Biggest Rivalries in Hockey. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the Top 5 Biggest Rivalries in Hockey.
Ann: That’s right. We thought this lesson was very important because many people don’t know very much about hockey. Our lesson on rivalries would help you learn a little bit about the best 10 teams in the sport.
Braden: Beyond that, you’ll understand a little better why hockey is considered one of the most violent of professional sports.
Ann: So, let’s get to it.
Braden: Our number 5 biggest rivalry in hockey is the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche.
Ann: This rivalry began in 1996 when one of the Avalanche players "checked" one of the Red Wings' players from behind.
Braden: This was illegal and the Avalanche player wasn't allowed to play in the next two games.
Ann: However, the Red Wings player broke both his nose and his jaw which infuriated the Red Wings fans. It didn't help that, that year, the Colorado Avalanche went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Braden: Since then, things have really only worsened or gotten better, depending on your perspective. There have been numerous fights and brawls between the Red Wings and the Avalanche.
Ann: Beyond that, the two teams met up in the playoffs four times and each team won twice. Now, that's keeping the rivalry tense.
Braden: That’s right. Number 4 in our top 5 biggest rivalries in hockey is the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.
Ann: Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with hockey, the New York Rangers actually have a lot of rivals.
Braden: They seem to have a way of making everyone angry. However, the resentment and bitterness toward the New Jersey Devils seems to be the worst.
Ann: From 1994 all the way through 2008, this rivalry has seen more tense moments than some of the other rivalries combined.
Braden: That’s right. For example, one of the traditions about hockey is at the end of a game or at the end of a series of games, the two team shake hands in a gesture of sportsmanship or goodwill.
Ann: Or peace, if you will. In 2008, players from each team refused to shake hands. In hockey, that's almost a death threat.
Braden: Our number three biggest rivalry in hockey is the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Washington Capitals.
Ann: This rivalry is as much about the individual players as it is about the teams and the fans.. It's a lot like the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in NBA basketball. Here though, the rival players are - 1) Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin. I apologize. I don’t know how to say some of these guys’ names. 2) Evgeni Malkin against Nicklas Backstrom and 3) Sergei Gonchar versus Mike Green.
Ann: Besides being in constant competition for statistics, these players seem to have a genuine dislike for each other.
Braden: Ovechkin nearly broke Gonchar's knee, Crosby and Ovechkin got into a fist fight. And that was just last season. It doesn't matter when or where, games between these two teams are always spectacular.
Ann: And our number 2 best rivalry in hockey is the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
Braden: Apparently, the Pittsburgh Penguins are about as good at creating rivalries as the New York Rangers. This rivalry, however, is all about the fans.
Ann: The two teams are in the same State (Pennsylvania) and have played each other for decades. The rivalry goes well beyond the ice rink and has turned into a matter of not only sports pride but of city pride.
Braden: Now, the games are not simply which team is better, but which city is better. And it’s not all on the fans though, the flyers are pretty violent bunch themselves and have been flagged to doing the one thing that is absolutely prohibited in hockey, checking the goalie.
Ann: While the goalie wasn't hurt and no goal is scored, both teams were quickly on the rink and a brawl erupted in seconds.
Braden: Our number 1 best rivalry in hockey is the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montréal Canadiens.
Ann: These two cities are often considered the hockey capitals of the world.
Braden: And these two teams which represent their great cities, are two of the most successful teams in hockey history.
Ann: Montreal has won the Stanley Cup 24 times and Toronto has won it 13 times.
Braden: These two teams hate each other because of their long history and fantastic players. The Canadiens currently have the upper hand in this rivalry, but that could change anytime.
Ann: The glory days for these two teams were back in the 1960s. From 1962 to 1969, either the Maple Leafs or the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup every year.
Braden: That just about does it for this lesson. Thanks for listening!
Ann: We’ll see you next time.