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HomeHockeyPittsburgh Penguins Prime Rivalries of the Crosby Period

Pittsburgh Penguins Prime Rivalries of the Crosby Period

Hockey rivalries have been round because the NHL was based 1917. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had rivals since they joined the league in 1967 with the six-team growth. Among the many trash discuss, bitter battles and playoff competitors, the next groups could be thought of the Penguins’ fiercest rivals of the Sidney Crosby period.

Washington Capitals

Step apart Philly, there’s a brand new antagonist on the town. The Capitals vs. Penguins rivalry has been one of the crucial publicized since Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin’s rookie seasons in 2005-06. Whereas the Crosby vs. Ovechkin battle escalated the rivalry, league realignment, playoff matchups, and questionable hits by gamers on each groups have fueled the fireplace.

Battles between the 2 have been extra intense because the 2013-14 NHL realignment, which put each golf equipment within the Metropolitan Division. Not solely do the groups go head-to-head 4 instances a 12 months and battle mercilessly for one of many prime three spots within the division, however the animosity from the common season is carried over into the playoffs, the place a gathering between the golf equipment has been inevitable the previous few years.

Matt Murray Jack Johnson Devante Smith-Pelly
Former Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray and Jack Johnson and Washington Capital Devante Smith-Pelly (AP Picture/Alex Brandon)

The Penguins and Capitals met within the playoffs for the primary time within the No. 8 and No. 87 period in 2009 within the Jap Convention Semifinals. Each gamers nabbed their first playoff hat tips in Recreation 2 of the seven-game sequence, however Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stole the present within the final recreation, with an impressive cease on an Ovechkin breakaway; a cease most goalies wouldn’t have made. Since then, the groups have met thrice within the second spherical, with the Penguins successful two Stanley Cup championships, and Capitals successful one.

Associated: Crosby vs. Ovechkin “Rivalry” Misses the Level

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For those who thought the competitors would simmer down now that Ovechkin’s Capitals have lastly raised the Stanley Cup banner, assume once more. With excessive, generally harmful, hitters like Tom Wilson on the Capitals’ roster, and questionable hits and collisions just like the one between Evgeni Malkin and T.J. Oshie cropping up, dangerous blood will probably be boiling between the 2 golf equipment for a few years to return.

Philadelphia Flyers

Although the Caps take the highest spot on Pittsburgh’s most-wanted record, the Philadelphia Flyers will not be far behind. Each groups entered the league within the 1967 growth, setting the stage for what would turn out to be a cross-state rivalry. The Flyers have been often known as the NHL’s dangerous guys with the Broad Avenue Bullies within the mid-Nineteen Seventies.

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The Penguins vs. Flyers rivalry is well-known, although it misplaced steam main as much as the 2004-05 lockout. Nonetheless, after the lockout, with rookies like Crosby, Malkin, Mike Richards and Claude Giroux coming into the league, each groups have been severe Cup contenders and the rivalry got here again to life.

Since 2005-06, the groups have met within the playoffs 4 instances, every sequence with its share of fireworks. In Recreation 6 of the 2009 Jap Convention Quarterfinals, the Penguins have been down 3-0 when Max Talbot and Daniel Carcillo determined to drop the gloves. Talbot acquired pummeled however lit a spark beneath his bench. The Penguins fired off 5 unanswered objectives and moved on to the following spherical.

Max Talbot, Pittsburgh Penguins
Max Talbot, Pittsburgh Penguins (Flickr/AaronVanLuven)

It’s not simply the gamers who’ve a vested curiosity on this rivalry; the coaches do, too. That was evident on Apr. 1, 2012, when Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato hopped up onto the boards and engaged in a screaming match whereas NBC announcer Pierre McGuire watched from between the benches. The groups met once more just a few weeks later for the Jap Convention Quarterfinals, the place the Flyers beat the Penguins in six video games.

Associated: 5 Highlights From 50 Years of Flyers-Penguins Hockey

The Penguins vs. Flyers rivalry will probably be round for years. In 2011, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman thought of a realignment plan that may put the groups in several divisions and reduce their regular-season conferences down to 2 video games. Flyers then-president Peter Luukko informed the Occasions Herald:

“It is a huge rivalry which means rather a lot not solely to us as a franchise, however to our followers, [Penguin] followers, and the complete state of Pennsylvania,” (from ‘Flyers, Penguins be part of forces to battle proposal of realigning the divisions’, The Occasions Herald, 10/31/11).

Columbus Blue Jackets

With simply three hours driving distance separating PPG Paints Enviornment and Nationwide Enviornment it was solely a matter of time earlier than the Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets developed a rivalry. The Blue Jackets entered the league in 2000 and spent their first 13 seasons within the Western Convention. Reaching the playoffs simply as soon as throughout that point (2008-09), the golf equipment didn’t have many alternatives to develop a feud. That modified in 2013-14 with the realignment.

Columbus Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson Pittsburgh Penguins' Chad Ruhwedel
Former Columbus Blue Jacket Josh Anderson and former Pittsburgh Penguin Chad Ruhwedel (AP Picture/Jay LaPrete)

That modified in 2013-14 with the realignment, and the Blue Jackets moved to the Metropolitan Division within the Jap Convention. The groups have been scheduled to fulfill 5 instances within the common season and sure within the playoffs. The Penguins and Blue Jackets met within the first spherical of the 2013-14 playoffs. The sequence went six video games with the Penguins transferring on to the following spherical. The 2 groups met once more within the first spherical of the 2016-17 playoffs, the place the Penguins have been victorious in 5 video games.

The saying “familiarity breeds contempt” is true for the Penguins and Blue Jackets, and particularly after former head coach John Tortorella joined Columbus. Tortorella typically voiced his displeasure with the Penguins when he was the top coach of the New York Rangers, and his emotions haven’t modified since becoming a member of the Blue Jackets in 2015. In a 2017 video interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Tortorella stated:

“Fairly truthfully, I don’t just like the [Penguins]. I say that not in a private manner, however as a crew that we need to beat. I assume possibly I’m defining it’s just a little little bit of a rivalry.”

Associated: Penguins/Blue Jackets: Ideas, Key Components

Extra just lately, Tortorella took offense to feedback made by former Blue Jacket and former Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson and basic supervisor Jim Rutherford. Although the groups met in the course of the 2018-19 preseason, it’s anticipated that feelings will probably be excessive and tempers will flare within the golf equipment’ first regular-season assembly on Nov. 24.

New York Rangers

A Penguins vs. Rangers rivalry won’t be the primary to return to thoughts, however the seeds have been planted lengthy earlier than the Crosby period, when Adam Graves slashed Mario Lemieux within the 1992 Patrick Division Remaining, breaking Lemieux’s hand.

The disdain between these two golf equipment within the trendy period comes from grit as a lot as gifted participant matchups. From 2005-06 by 2016-17, Penguins vs. Rangers video games have been a goalie fan’s dream. Pittsburgh’s Fleury and the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist placed on spectacular performances, making everybody cease and marvel, “Did he actually simply cease that?”

Sidney Crosby, Alexandar Georgiev, Marc Staal
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby is stopped by New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev with former Ranger Marc Staal defending. (AP Picture/Gene J. Puskar)

The 2 groups met 4 instances within the playoffs throughout that span, with two sequence going to the Rangers (2014 and 2015) and two to the Penguins (2008 and 2016). The highest-notch play of Fleury and Lundqvist was key in all 4 sequence however was overshadowed by on-ice antics, particularly in the course of the 2008 Jap Convention Semifinals.

In Recreation 2 of the semifinals, Crosby and former Penguin Jaromir Jagr engaged in verbal sparring for a lot of the recreation. When requested what the chirping was about, Crosby informed the Tribune-Overview’s, Josh Yohe:

“Simply ask [Jagr]. I wasn’t doing the speaking,” (from ‘Staal techniques’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Overview, 4/28/08).

Jagr didn’t hand over a lot both, saying he informed Crosby to “simply play hockey,” which was interpreted as a dig towards the Penguins’ captain, who the Rangers felt embellished altercations to attract penalties.

At the moment, no Rangers recreation was full with out some kind of shenanigan from left winger Sean Avery, who had the league’s unsportsmanlike conduct rule amended only for him, and prompted the Penguins’ Gary Roberts to name him, “an fool”. On the evening of Apr. 27, Avery slashed Fleury from behind, inflicting Fleury to whack Avery between the legs along with his aim stick.

Associated: The New York Rangers’ Finest Rivalries

Since Avery’s retirement in 2012, a number of the soiled showmanship has calmed down permitting the rivalry to be fueled by gamers making an attempt to out-skate, out-score, and outsmart each other.

Detroit Purple Wings

The Penguins vs. Purple Wings hatred could be summed up in two methods: Stanley Cup Playoffs and Marian Hossa.

The 2008 Stanley Cup Remaining was monumental for a lot of causes: It was the primary time two U.S. groups had met within the ultimate in 5 years; the primary time the Penguins had been again to the ultimate since 1992; and the Purple Wings have been going for his or her fourth championship in 11 seasons. The Purple Wings received in six video games, making the Penguins hungry to attempt once more.

Nonetheless, within the offseason, free agent Marian Hossa selected to ditch the black and gold for purple and white, signing a one-year take care of the Purple Wings. When requested about his selection, Hossa stated:

It was a extremely powerful choice for me to make. After I in contrast the 2 groups, I felt like I might have just a little higher of an opportunity to win the Cup in Detroit.

The Penguins, nonetheless, had the final chuckle. Each Pittsburgh and Detroit returned to the Cup Remaining in 2009, the place Pittsburgh snagged their third franchise championship on two objectives from Talbot in Recreation 7 and a diving save from Fleury because the clocked ticked all the way down to zero.

Tyler Kennedy, Marian Hossa, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tyler Kennedy (48) and Detroit Purple Wings’ Marian Hossa (81),(wstera/Flickr)

Regardless of the satisfaction of constructing Hossa eat his phrases, the rivalry appeared to finish with the handshakes and trophy presentation. The Purple Wings moved to the Jap Convention with the 2013-14 realignment, eliminating the possibility of one other Stanley Cup Remaining matchup between the golf equipment.

Moreover, most of the Purple Wings gamers and coaches that made the rivalry so intense -like Hossa, head coach Mike Babcock, and middle Henrik Zetterberg-have both moved on to different groups or have retired. Possibly an Jap Convention Remaining matchup between the 2 golf equipment may reignite a number of the 2008-09 animosity.

New York Islanders

The Islanders have been thought of a Penguins rival because the mid-Nineteen Seventies due to the golf equipment’ frequent playoff conferences. This rivalry seemingly pale after the 2004-05 lockout however regained pace after a violent matchup between the 2 groups on Feb. 11, 2011.

Tempers have been nonetheless excessive from a recreation 9 days prior when the Penguins’ Talbot delivered a questionable test on the Islanders’ Blake Comeau, and goalies Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro scrapped at middle ice. The Penguins’ Johnson fractured DiPietro’s face with one punch, inflicting him to overlook six weeks of motion from the fracture and the knee swelling he sustained whereas falling to the ice.

Sidney Crosby, Robin Lehner
Former New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner stops Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (AP Picture/Gene J. Puskar)

The massacre recreation resulted in a $100,000 positive for the Islanders group, two Islanders’ suspensions and one Penguin suspension, 65 penalties, and a complete of 346 penalty minutes. The Penguins and Islanders haven’t had a violent matchup like this since, however it was stunning sufficient to earn them a spot on the rivalry record for the 2 video games that may reside in infamy.



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