Who Are The Pens Biggest Rivals?

The slow, boring hockey-news-free month of August is nearly over and I just can't take another day of nothingness. So I decided to examine who the Pens biggest rivals will be this season.

1: Philadelphia Flyers
-For me, it's a no-brainer the Flyers top this list. The two teams (and fanbases) absolutely hate each other and the Talbot/Jagr drama just ramps it up even more. This rivalry dates back years and years and never gets old. The last few years have been especially interesting with the two teams going back and forth in the standings and on the ice. I look for the Flyers to take a step back this year, but they will still be on the Pens heels in the division. Get ready for plenty of laughable "Crosby Sucks" chants, lame "Cindy" jokes, and "all Pens fans are bandwagoners" comments. Just like every other year. Speaking of years...1975.

2. Washington Capitals
-This rivalry is really taking off. It goes well beyond the Sid vs. Ovie hype. They hate Malkin, Cooke, Letang...we hate Green, Semin, and Backstrom right back. Last year's HBO 24/7 and Winter Classic upped the rivalry even more. With both teams vying for the top of the East again this year, the players are surely circling the dates they play on the calendar.

3. New York Rangers
-This is another old rivalry that looks like its finally heating up again. The Rangers are improving and look ready to challenge for the division again. They won't get there with the Pens standing in their way, but they sure will pester the hell out of us all.

4. Boston Bruins
-There were some crazy games between the Pens and Bruins last year, and with the two teams being teams to win a Cup in the last few years, bragging rights and Eastern Conference superiority are on the line.

5. New Jersey Devils
-The Devils have been a thorn in the Pens side for the last couple years. They went 0-6 against them 2 years ago and even though they had a very down year lasy year, they still managed to frustrate the Pens. They won't be as bad as last year, but they will be every bit as frustrating to play against.

Honorable Mention:
Detroit Red Wings
-The bad blood from the back to back Finals is beginning to fade a little as the Wings get older and a rematch seems highly unlikely. Plus seeing them at most twice a year doesn't stoke the fires much. The dislike is still there, just not as much.

New York Islanders
-After last years debacle on Long Island, it would be easy to put them on the list. But they won't challenge the Pens in the standings and hopefully the Pens take the high road and not stoop to the low levels of the Isles organization.

Tampa Bay Lightning
-Last year's playoff series and the infamous Hedman hit on Sid established the beginnings of a rivalry. Sid vs. Stamkos doesn't seem likely to take off yet. A few more heated games and perhaps another playoff series would ramp this thing up.

Who do you think is the Pens biggest rival?
Which team will challenge the Pens for the Atlantic and in the East?
Let your thoughts be known!

Normally, I do a column called "Forward Progress" here. I can't even wait to get back to that with my predictions on line combinations, points, and more. So look forward to that!

Training camp is just around the corner and the season will be here before we know it.

Can't come soon enough!


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