PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – On January 2nd, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers will play in the Winter Classic in Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. If the Flyers want to make an impression that they are still one of the elite teams to beat in the Eastern Conference, beating the Rangers in front of a national TV audience would be a good place to start.
The problem with that theory is that the Rangers are giving the Flyers offense fits these days. The Rangers were less than one period away Friday night from shutting out the Flyers in New York for the third consecutive time. Fortunately, the Flyers put two goals past Henrik Lundqvist in the Flyers’ 4-2 loss, in what was the last game the two teams will play against one another until the Classic. In those three games, the Rangers have outscored the Flyers 13-2.
Needless to say, if the Flyers must score the first goal of the game if they are to not only defeat the Rangers, but avoid turning the Winter Classic into a borefest. Clickers all over the nation will being clicking away to college football if that were to happen. Fortunately for hockey fans and the casual fan shouldn’t have too many boring moments when these two teams. Heck, watching the fights in the fans between the two teams’ fan bases might be as much fun to watch as the game on the ice.
New York and Philadelphia hate each other. It is that simple. A lot of the animosity between the two cities has to do with the proximity of each other, but mostly because New York, as a sports town, is what Philadelphia wants to be every year, every decade. They want to have a shot at winning a championship every year but at least have one of their sports teams win a championship.
The Philadelphia Phillies remember all too well in 2009 what it was like to lose to a New York-based team when the New York Yankees defeated them in six games in the Wolrd Series. The Giants shocked the world and defeated the New England Patriots in 2008, but before then they also won in 1987 and 1991. In 1994 the Rangers finally pulled the feat off with a Stanley Cup championship, their first in 54 long years. The Knicks won two NBA titles in 1970 and 1973, but have enjoyed only sporadic success ever since. But altogether, the last decade a New York team has not won a title was from 1910-1919.
Philadelphia has considered itself a long-suffering sports town despite the Phillies winning the last championship in town back in 2008. Still, the Flyers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1975, the 76ers since 1983, and the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl but did win three NFL championships in 1948, 1949, and 1960. Beating the Rangers in the Winter Classic won’t allow anyone to forget those facts, but any time the Flyers can beat the Rangers it’s a good day in South Philadelphia.
The only thing that is a given on that day is that Chris Pronger won’t be playing in it. Still, the game should be a lot of fun to watch regardless if you are either in the stands or at home watching it at home. In the mean time enjoy opening your Christmas presents and drinking champagne on New Years Eve. You have some outdoor hockey to look forward too when it’s all said and done.