- Pittsburgh Penguins. Seven playoff series, one win. Two blown 3-1 series leads, one blown 2-0 lead.... Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Petr Nedved, Martin Straka, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin.... The way their fans invade our building.... I just threw up in my mouth.
- Philadelphia Flyers. Four playoff series, tied at two apiece.... Often brutally physical rivalry.... Dale Hunter's goal.... Ron Hextall's goal.... The god forsaken Spectrum.... Reignited this past season with Philly's acquisition of the almost universally loathed Danny Briere and, of course, the playoff series.... At least I got to bury these guys this year.
- New York Rangers. Four playoff series, tied at two wins apiece.... John Druce.... Jaromir Jagr.... All those transplanted New Yorkers living in D.C.... It's been a while since these teams were division rivals (1997-98) and even longer since they faced each other in the playoffs (1993-94), but the hatred's still there.
- Carolina Hurricanes. Hey, the first of the rivalries Gary created makes an appearance!... The teams have combined to win six of the nine Southeast Division titles, with each team winning three (and the Caps winning the most recent title in their last game of the season).... No playoff match-ups yet, so it pains me to rank the rivalry this high, but given the proximity of the two teams to one another and the frequency with which they've battled each other on-ice and in the standings over the last decade or so, this is where I put it.
- New York Islanders. Six playoff series, one win. One blown 2-0 series lead (in a best-of-five) and one blown 3-1 lead that culminated in the worst moment in Caps' history.... Hunter's hit on Pierre Turgeon.... Denis Potvin's hit on Bengt Gustafsson.
- Tampa Bay Lightning. One
questionably officiatedplayoff series, one loss. One 2-0 series lead blown.... Martin St. Louis. Pavel Kubina. Vinny Lecavalier.... The rivalry loses something with John Tortorella gone, but with Olie Kolzig now in Tampa, there's plenty of reason to get fired up for a Bolts game.
- Buffalo Sabres. One playoff series, one triumphant win sending the Caps to their only Stanley Cup Finals appearance.... Dominik Hasek throwing his blocker at Peter Bondra.... Alex Ovechkin's hit on Briere and Briere's courageous retaliation.... Another visiting team that represents (or at least did when they were good) at the Verizon Center.
- New Jersey Devils. Two playoff series, one win apiece (including a seven-game loss in the 1987-88 Patrick Division Finals).... Pat Verbeek's filthiness on Rod Langway during that playoff series.... Patrik Sundstrom's NHL-record eight-point game against the Caps in that same series.... Martin Brodeur's whining about Ovechkin's mirrored visor.... What could have been had the Caps kept Scott Stevens (and yes, I know he went to St. Loo in between, but tell me it didn't hurt to see him raise the Cup for Jersey three times).
- Atlanta Thrashers. Another one of the "forced" rivalries, this one got ratcheted up a notch when Andy Sutton tried to decapitate Mike Green two seasons ago.... Now the matchup features a pair of buddies behind the benches, so it may be a bit friendlier on some level, but no less intense.
- Boston Bruins. Two playoff series, one win.... Tim Taylor's toe.... Milan Lucic's hit on Brian Pothier and fights with John Erskine and Matt Bradley.... Chris Rooney's favorite team.... Donald Brashear's triple-minor.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The Caps Top 10 Rivals
Inspired by the Chief over at A2Y (though not inspired enough to put in the effort that he did), I thought it would be a good August discussion topic to throw together a list of the Caps Top 10 Rivals, and let you guys tell me where I went wrong. Away we go: