“Why Can’t we be friends?”


Aside from the time this song was used in The Simpsons when Homer was about to fight Drederick Tatum, I absolutely hate it.

The reason? Some of my best hockey watching memories took place when the opposing sides where far from friends. I’m all for respecting your opponents, and fellowship of man and blah blah blah; but isn’t it a little more entertaining when two teams/players/coaches/fans actually don’t like each other?

Hate sometimes brings out the best in players.

Yes I’m talking about rivalries. No, I’m not going to list the “best rivalries of all time”, when I am going to do is list the rivalries I wish still existed.

Ones that I grew up with that for certain reasons, have completely died.

Red Wings/Avalanche

I am  a lifelong Red Wing fan. To take a page from the movie Fight Club…

The first rule of being a Red Wing fan is you must hate Claude Lemieux.

The second rule of being a Red Wing fan is you must hate Claude Lemieux.

If a Red Wings fan sees Lemieux at any point in their life, they are obligated to do him harm in some , way shape or form. After his disgusting hit on Kris Draper, an amazing rivalry was born. I would circle every game against the Avs on my calender. Goalie fights, turtling, brawls , it was a great rivalry that is no more.


This one kind of took on a life of its own, and the NHL loved it. They loved it because even if you were not a fan of either player or team, you still watched.

Thanks to the lock-out (never though I would say that) , they both entered the league at the same time.

At first they put on the “Really, we do like each other” face for the cameras, then their true feelings starting coming out after this

They met in the playoffs and put on a show in a 7 game series.

They started taking jabs at each other in the media.

HBO even tried to capitalize on it by following the two teams for 24/7. They didn’t emerge as the main story in the 4 part series and with Sid still out with a concussion, this thing seems dead.

Provincial rivalries

The Battle of Alberta

Leafs and Sens

Habs and Nordiques (I know this one can’t come back just yet, but it was still good)

There is something about geography that just creates hatred. There is one thing that is stopping these things from coming back, the teams need to be good. The Battle of Alberta was at its height when Gretzky and the Oilers were being challenged by the Flames in the 80′s. Leafs and Sens seemed to be a forgone conclusion in the playoffs.  If they are lucky,  one of these teams will be in the playoffs, so their games seem pretty meaningsless.

These things are dead, and I  miss them. Think they can come back? Have a rivalry you miss? comment or tweet @robpizzo


lets see what else is going on

Hockey and Gambling, Pro Hockey Talk combines two of my passions

Enough about shoulder injuries and cap hits, Flyers have called up Brayden Schenn (CSNPhilly)

Between curse words, Bruce Boudreau told Alexander Ovechkin to take a practice off  (Washington Post)

Who has some advice to NBA players regarding their lockout….Bill Guerin. (Star Telegram)

Jaromir Jagr’s mullet set to music? I smell a Grammy (Pens blog)

Sticking with Jagr, want to know what goes on in the “Jaromir Jagr  Hockey School”? (trust me, its not what you think)

Talk about looking ahead, the Fourth Period says the Red Wings will have plenty of room to operate at the Trade Deadline

The official online KHL store has released commemorative Lokomotiv gear to help benefit families (Puck Daddy)

If you are a Punjabi speaking hockey fan, you probably won’t like this (Vancouver Sun)

Reminder: The first Backhand Shelf podcast goes today with myself ad Justin Bourne. Check back this afternoon to download it