Sure, they were at each others’ throats just months ago in a rage-filled and goal-soaked playoff series, but apparently the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers organizations can get along every now and then. At least when it comes to growing the sport in their state.
The teams announced that they’ll work together to form “Team Pennsylvania 2003*,” which will send top 10-year old hockey players to the 2013 Brick International Super Novice Tournament in Edmonton. That tournament takes place from July 1-7 next year.
Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse showed enthusiasm for what he called “The Little League World Series for 10-year old hockey players,” but he also stated that it won’t extinguish the NHL rivalry in any way.
“Next time we play Philadelphia we’ll try to beat them as badly as before and they’ll try to beat us as badly as before, but off the ice this kind of collaboration is something the League will benefit from,” Morehouse said. “It makes perfect sense in almost the antithesis kind of way. Of course we’re bitter rivals, but we’re very passionate about hockey, so who better to team up with than people as passionate about hockey as you are.”
It’s sort of like that one X-Men movie where Magneto and Professor X team up, only with young hockey players instead of Kevin Bacon.
* – Named after the birth year of the youth hockey players.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: