Monday, September 26, 2011

Rangers vs. Flyers Officially Announced For 2012 Winter Classic

At a press conference from Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman finally announced what he called "the worst kept secret in sports" - that the Rangers and Flyers will square off in the 2012 Winter Classic on January 2nd at 1 p.m. from Citizen's Bank Park in Philly. The NHL also confirmed that HBO will indeed be doing their second installment of the 24/7 mini-series leading up to the Winter Classic, with the first episode airing on December 14. The jerseys the teams will be wearing for the event weren't unveiled yet, however.

Click below to read more, including some trash talking that was initiated by Glen Sather later on in the press conference.

The Rangers organization was represented at the press conference by Glen Sather, John Tortorella, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan, while the Flyers were represented by owner Ed Snider, Paul Holmgren, Peter Laviolette, Chris Pronger, Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk. I guess someone forgot to wake up Jim Dolan to let him know that this was kind of a big deal to show up for since he, you know, owns the Rangers and all.

After some slight bragging by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in which he ridiculously called Philly "the greatest sports city in the world" and said the Phillies would be winning the World Series this year, Glen Sather walked up to the podium and actually stole the show. After cutting a joke about the Flyers fans in attendance actually giving a round of applause for Sather when his name was announced, Slats took it upon himself to add some fuel to the fire that is the hated rivalry between the Rangers and Flyers.

"We're going to come to Philadelphia, and we are going to win," Sather said, which naturally prompted a chorus of boos from the Philadelphia Flyers fans in attendance.

“Now that’s more like it, I knew I could get a rise out of you," he continued after being booed.

“We kicked the hell out of you twice in the Stanley Cup,” Sather said, referring to his time with the Edmonton Oilers. "And we’re going to do the same thing on the 2nd.”

“When he says ‘we kicked the hell out of you in two Stanley Cups,’ he wasn’t talking about the Rangers," Flyers owner Ed Snider chimed in. "I remember kicking the hell out of the Rangers on the way to our Cups.”
Oh, but Slats wasn't done.

“At the end of the year, we will be hoisting the Cup...just like the Yankees are going to win the World Championship.”

I thought it was great when I was watching it live and actually couldn't believe that Sather took it upon himself to jump start the rivalry a little early this year. It actually added to what was otherwise an uneventful and standard press conference up to that point. The back and forth was great, and I can't wait for 24/7 to start up leading up to the Winter Classic. I have a feeling hearing Torts uncensored will make Rex Ryan's language on "Hard Knocks" seem like an episode of Sesame Street.


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