Most intense NHL team rivalries ever?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Mike Martin, Nov 15, 2013.

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  1. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Registered User

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    What have been the most intense NHL team rivalries in the league's history?

    From what I remember Edmonton/Calgary was brutal in the 1980's but so was Chicago/Minnesota or Boston/Buffalo.

    Or maybe the 1990's rivalry between Detroit/Colorado which was considered the greatest rivalry of its time due to the teams facing each other in the Playoffs so often which made it different from typical rivalries which were based on teams playing in the same division.

    I'm also interested in how these rivalries felt from the inside, from a fan perspective rather than from the view of the players.

    I think some of the rivalries emphasized by the media have been exaggerated. For example, besides the St. Patrick's Day Massacre of March 1991 I don't actually recall the Blackhawks and Blues being that intense of a rivalry at least not when compared to the rivalries both the Blues and the Blackhawks had against Detroit.

    What do you think? Most intense NHL team rivalries ever?
     
  2. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Welcome to hf Mike... this topics's been discussed before and always engenders lively conversation so I'll start with the most obvious one going back to the 40's through the 60's, and that would be Toronto & Montreal when even Regular Season Games early were "events" not to be missed. Could fill pages on just that one rivalry alone. Both teams as well having rivalries with Chicago & Detroit, New York & Boston throughout the post WW2 era rather anemic, weak, and as such rivalries more one on one between players than anything that would have developed ordinarily through hard fought playoff series.
     
  3. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    I'm purely an outsider, but I always thought Montreal-Quebec seemed like a very intense rivalry. It wasn't a long-lived rivalry but it sure seemed to burn hot! Those guys really seemed to hate each other, and same thing with the fans. Maybe somebody from la belle province (and who is >35 y.o.) could comment, I'd be interested to hear their thoughts.
     
  4. sandysan

    sandysan Registered User

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    Qualify on both counts, habs diques had it share of hate and I'm not saying that they games were not intense, but as a habs fan, this begins and ends with the bruins. full stop.

    Other teams can enjoy their current rivalries, go ahead we dont mind. Because when you get tired of the current rival you can always come back to the habs bruins and the hate will still be burning. Its one of the few rivalries that does not need new incidents to stoke the fires.

    Plus the habs/diques games always had this language undercurrent that I never liked.
     
  5. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Montreal and Boston, Montreal and Toronto, Philly and Pittsburgh. Also Montreal/Quebec was pretty good back in the day.
     
  6. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    I think #1 of all-time has to be Habs vs Leafs, or Habs vs Bruins. Habs fans can maybe give an answer to which one.

    Me personally, I vaguely remember the North Stars vs Blackhawks of the 80s because I was so young, but come 1990 and 1991 I was right in to it and those were some intense battles. Hated the Hawks but loved getting up for them.

    Montreal vs Quebec has to be up there for sure. Probably top few.
     
  7. Boom Boom Bear

    Boom Boom Bear Registered User

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    The Habs-Nordiques rivalry in the 80s was perhaps one of the most intense of my lifetime, fer shure. Really heated up when they met each other in the playoffs, Habs fans hating on the Stastnys, etc.

    It even became part of Quebec's pop culture at the time. I remember watching International Wrestling from Montreal, & the two insanely popular babyface heroes at the time were Dino Bravo from Montreal & Rick Martel from Quebec City. They were friends, allies & tag team partners, but for a little while they had a babyface feud over the International title. Martel would do interviews wearing a Nordiques jersey, giving little digs at Habs fans. They filled Forum with Bravo being cheered over Martel, & Le Colisee with Martel being cheered over Bravo. It was perhaps the most memorable Canadian wrestling rivalry of the era, riffing off the animosity between Habs & Nordiques fans.
     
  8. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Great ones mentioned.

    Let's not forget nineties Red Wings vs. Avs. IN-TENSE!

    And some of the best games I've ever seen have been NYI-NYR tilts.
     
  9. silkyjohnson50

    silkyjohnson50 Registered User

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    As a Detroit fan it's hard to describe those games with Colorado. It was a different feeling, one that I don't expect to be replicated again and I'm ok with that. Those were the games you would be thinking about all day long on gameday and you'd have that nervous/excited energy leading up to them. Palms would be sweating, teeth would be chattering. And this is just regular season games I'm talking about it. That's how it felt when Colorado was on the schedule.

    And it was more than just the hate we had for them. It was the fact that we knew that these were the two best teams in hockey, that truly hated each other, and were going to play that game with a combination of skill and intensity that just couldn't be matched.

    I remember Shanahan quoted as saying that he had feared Colorado. But that it was the fear that forced them to go all in knowing what would happen if they didn't bring their everything.

    I've been to a lot of Detroit's sports games live. I've been to Michigan/Ohio State football games. But the game that I was fortunate enough to attend on March 26, 1997 was unparalleled. That was the first real brawl between those teams with McCarty/Lemiuex and Vernon/Roy. And even that night before the puck drop there was a different buzz in the Joe. Everyone had that nervous/excited energy knowing something was going to go down but not quite knowing exactly what and exactly when. It was special.
     
  10. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    As mentioned above ya, that Nordiques vs the Canadiens rivalry early through mid 80's was one for the ages producing some just incredible hockey. Guys playing out of their minds & bodies. Some of the best hockey Ive ever seen in over 50yrs. Also a sort of mini-short-lived rivalry between the Islanders & Leafs when New York was getting it together, ascendant. You could tell they were going places in a hurry, and the Leafs none too shabby at that time.
     
  11. Inkling

    Inkling Same Old Hockey

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    For my money, the best rivalries are those that extend off the ice as well as on the ice. Habs-Nords, Flames-Oilers were two of the best. If you back further you can add Habs-Leafs but by the 70's it's kind of played out. As someone who grew up in Montreal, I always thought the Habs-Bruins rivalry was a bit over-rated. The teams had some good rivalries on the ice over the years but there was never the intensity that you'd get with the Nordiques, or between Calgary and Edmonton.
     
  12. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    All-time I think we can all agree that the best one is Montreal/Boston. It's been going strong since the 1940s. No other rivalry has that kind of shelf life. Lots of classic moments between these two teams.

    Other ones that have been short lived but very vicious at their peak were Rangers/Isles, Oilers/Flames and Montreal/Quebec. Sadly, none of them exist anymore. The Flames and Oilers have both been bad for two decades so there is never anything of significance in those games. Quebec relocated and the Rangers and Isles have either been bad since the 1980s or ONE of them has been bad since then. Almost always the Isles. You need playoff series to keep the rivalry going.

    In the 1990s and early 2000s the Avs/Red Wings had the best rivalry and one of the best I've ever seen. There was just pure hate there.

    Today you can't beat a Philly/Pittsburgh battle. In fact, they've had a long history themselves. Crosby can't stay in a normal hotel when they are in Philly. True story. He needs an escort to get into the rink. You can chalk that up to the rowdy Flyers fans but the truth is if people fear for a star players' safety in the opposing rink then that is a true rivalry.
     
  13. MetalheadPenguinsFan

    MetalheadPenguinsFan Disco Is Dead!!!

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    I never knew that. That's pretty ****ing crazy if it's true. Sadly I could see it being 100% true so.....wow.
     
  14. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    I'll add another. Habs and Philly. They've had a long history of intense playoff rivalries dating back to the early 70's. And of course there is the famous brawl in Montreal in winter 1974 where Robinson pummeled Schultz. 1976 finals there were threats on Lafleur's life; by whom I don't know. Then there was the brawl in the warmup for a 1987 CF playoff game. Then in 1989 Chelios knocks out Propp with a vicious elbow and Hextall goes nuts. And their series a few years ago was intense for a few games until Philly took control and won in 5.
     
  15. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    Longest running is Habs/Booins by far.

    Most intense in my lifetime (35+ years of watching hockey) was Habs/Nords and nothing else is even close. It was just as nasty off the ice as it was on the ice.
    Players detested each other, fans hated each other, politicians hated each other, even the media hated each other and had to be separated. Beer companies were going at it for pete's sake and there were legal battles as well over TV rights and proceeds.
    It was just plain nasty at every and any level you could imagine!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  16. BadgerBruce

    BadgerBruce Registered User

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    I won't disagree with those who point to the Bruins/Habs rivalry as having the most legs decade after decade.

    But I've always found the Habs/Wings rivalry in the 1950s to be powerful. The two teams won 9 of 10 cups in the decade and met in the finals 4 times.

    The Rocket's 1954 newspaper musings (in the "Samedi-Dimanche") seemed to reserve a particularly vitriolic hatred for "all things Wings," including the actions of certain Detroit players (Wilson, Howe) and their insults. Lindsay, of course, occupied a special place of honour.

    Interestingly, even the 1955 Richard Riot is connected to both the Bruins and the Red Wings. The on-ice events took place in Boston, and the riot took place in Montreal when Detroit was the visiting team.
     
  17. Flamer12

    Flamer12 Registered User

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    I wish it lasted longer but in my opinion, nothing comes close to Montreal vs Quebec. Those playoff series were just brutal.
     
  18. Sprague Cleghorn

    Sprague Cleghorn User Registered

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    Golden Seals vs. Kings. :yo:
     
  19. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Awesome. Ya'll thinkin the Morris Mott vs Skip Craig or the Len Frig vs Juha Widing era's?
     
  20. mrhockey193195

    mrhockey193195 Registered User

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    In my lifetime, I haven't seen anything that compares with Colorado-Detroit.
     
  21. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Yeah, that was certainly one of the better rivalries of the last 2 decades. Unfortunate the Avalanche faded, the rivalry really going nowhere, unsustainable thereafter. That whole Quebec factor playing large, a sort of subtext to the story-lines, games.
     
  22. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    First time I've heard or thought of him in years. The guy with a name no one got right... Yuhaw Veeding, if I recall correctly
    Nice all around player with good size, though I don't think really physical. I don't remember Len Frig, or anyone for that matter, having an issue with him
     
  23. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    :laugh: Prolly cuz no one did Cf... see, I just made it up.
     
  24. mrhockey193195

    mrhockey193195 Registered User

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    I feel the rivalry was mostly a product of the players, so even if the Avs stayed relevant it still would have died down eventually. Foote, Roy, Forsberg, Lemieux, et al. against Vernon/Osgood, Shanahan, Draper, McCarty, Maltby, et al. Throw in the gentlemanly rivalries between Sakic and Yzerman, Kamensky vs Fedorov/Larionov/Kozlov...well, I guess even those guys were drawn into the fisticuffs. Just tremendous drama, but after the 2002 matchup in the playoffs I kind of knew the rivalry was pretty much over.
     
  25. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Yes, a common & bittersweet refrain amongst both Red Wings & Colorado fans. Have had this discussion with many of them on other Boards here at hf.... as a Rangers fan, who would you mark as being New York's greatest foe or rival? New Jersey perhaps due to their successes, the sort of Ugly Duckling, or maybe Philly?
     

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