Dear Flyers Fans,
We know that game 7 loss hurt. We know it hurt even more because it was at the hands of the New York Rangers, a team you hate more than almost any other. You hate the New York swagger and attitude. You hate the success that came at your expense this year. You hate the fedora known as The Broadway Hat. You hate that Henrik Lundqvist had your number in another big game. And, more than anything else, you hate this guy:
In all honesty, there’s not a single thing about the Rangers you don’t hate right now. Yes, that was a double-negative–and you probably hate that, too. We’re not saying that this win made us hate you any less either. We still hate the Philadelphia Flyers with a passion that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. But it’s always easier to manage those emotions when you’re on the winning side. Now we’re asking you to do something that will go against all those years of built-up hatred and loathing, as well as the all-too-recent scars of game 7. We’re asking you to show the Rangers some love in the second round.
We get that you’re ready to rip our throat out for even making that suggestion–but before you do, hear us out. Yes, you hate us. But, based on recent history, you hate the Pittsburgh Penguins even more. You know we’re right–don’t even try denying it (video proof below). Since we’re now looking to beat up on them, we’re the most logical choice for your support. We’re not asking you to like us, just to swallow that hate for four to seven games. Or, better yet, redirect it to hate the Pens even more. Still not convinced? Read on.
How many players on the Rangers do you truly despise (other than Dan Carcillo, that is)? Honestly, does Mats Zuccarello really inspire the same degree of hatred as, say, James Neal? How about Ryan McDonagh vs. Brooks Orpik? Rick Nash vs. Evgeni Malkin? Are you beginning to see what we mean? Your hate is much stronger when it’s directed towards southwest PA. For one last comparison, try this: picture Henrik Lundqvist raising the Stanley Cup. Go ahead, do it now. We know it probably made you throw up in your mouth a little, but after the initial shock the horror wears off and it gets better, doesn’t it? Now scroll down and look at the picture below. If that doesn’t convince you, then nothing will.
We understand that there has been tons of bad blood between the Rangers and Flyers fans. But don’t let the actions of a few people (who don’t deserve to be called “fans”) destroy the rest of our reputations. Let’s be clear here–there were many reports of so-called Rangers “fans” posting racist remarks on Twitter directed at Wayne Simmonds. No true fan would ever stoop so low–and we condemn those people every bit as much as you do. We will not even post links to their tweets here. Their 15 minutes of fame needs to be over. They do not represent us, and never will.
Is there anything else? Ah yes, the Broadway Hat. Don’t hate on the World’s Most Famous Fedora. It’s one of the classier traditions in hockey right now–and more sanitary than throwing seafood on the ice, too (grand tradition though that may be). Once again, the Penguins have a corresponding tradition that you can hate even more. Their player of the game award is currently a rock. Yes, a rock. Honestly, now, isn’t forcing your team’s best player to look like they’re auditioning for The Flintstones Movie worthy of some patented Philly hate?
So there you have it, Flyers fans. While we would never expect you to actually like the Rangers (there have to be some boundaries here), they remain a much better choice for your support than the alternative. We know it’s hard, so take another look at that picture up above and remember what we’re fighting for here. And when your resolve is tested, keep repeating “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Welcome to the dark side–here’s your fedora.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Rangers Fans
Kevin has been covering the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers for The Hockey Writers since the 2013-14 season. Before that, he has written about, played, and coached hockey at all levels. He grew up a Rangers fan in the Southern Tier of New York State, but now lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and two sons. You can reach him on Twitter as @kmizTHW , or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).