The best rivalry in the NHL right now?
In a league where the hate from most of the classic rivalries has turned into “buddy buddy” friendships, last night’s preseason tilt between Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks was a glimpse into what might be the best rivalry in hockey right now. After putting up 114 combined penalty minutes in last night’s game (and one fight), luckily for us we don’t have to wait long to see this heated match-up to continue as the season opening night-cap is the Knights and Sharks.
Aaron Dell ▶️▶️▶️ Mark Stone#HfHits
🤔 can we just have the Sharks and Knights play each other 82 times this year? pic.twitter.com/P5kpSUkQeo
— hockeyfights (@hockeyfights) September 30, 2019
I’m not here to tell Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens fans what was the most storied rivalry of all times. Sit down Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames fans who are here to complain about the 80’s and when they were last truly a relevant match up with some actual heat. Right now, from where I blog, the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks are THE match up to watch when you want to see two teams that really seem to despise each other.
The Case For It:
Since the Knights entered the league, the two teams have been battling it out for the top spot of the Pacific division. The Sharks, themselves an expansion team back in 1991-92, took *only* two years to find themselves in the playoffs. The Golden Knights, likely because of their Hockey Training, found a way to blow the collective minds of the entire NHL when in their first year, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals (after beating the Sharks in seven games of round two).
The NHL’s desire to try and manufacture rivalries with the new playoff format has perhaps been no more successful than with this Sharks/Knights match-up. Everyone remembers last year and the chaos around this hit:
And the eventual, improbable, fantastic comeback the Sharks and co. put on as a result.
That kind of moment really solidifies what could be one of the most exciting schedule of games between two teams this year.
The Other Guys:
As I mentioned before, this isn’t to say that this rivalry will replace the hate that other, longer standing feuds that there are. Simply, I just think the Sharks/Knights match ups are our best chance to see the good old hockey. Let’s have a look at some of the others.
This is the hallmark for hatred in this league. The fans, the broadcasters, the hate, the history is all there, but it just feels like since 2011 and the goalie fight:
We just haven’t seen the same heat on the ice. I hope it comes back soon.
The fans are the ones keeping this one alive. Sure the players have some heat there, but it just hasn’t had the same powder keg feel to it in recent years. 2014-15 was the last real hurrah for this rivalry as a top dog.
The 80’s were a great time to be alive if you were a fan of the Battle of Alberta. Over the years it has been sparked up from time to time, but for the most part these teams are trading players, more than trading fisticuffs. These guys sure did their weight training!
So there it is, my take on what is the best rivalry now in the NHL going into the 2019-20 season. Think I am wrong? Prove me so in the comments below.