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Five justifiable reasons to hate Philadelphia

| Friday, May 9, 2008

Five worth fighting over

The Tribune-Review offers five reasons Penguins fans' hatred for the Flyers is justifiable:

0, the horror!

From Feb. 7, 1974, until Feb. 2, 1989, the Penguins played 42 games at the famed Spectrum and failed to win once. They were 0-39-3 over that 15-year span, meaning a fan born after Jan. 20, 1974 - the victory before "The Streak" began - could have learned to walk, read, rebound from first heartbreak and possibly drive before seeing the Penguins win in Philadelphia.

See ya, 66!

Everybody, including Mario Lemieux, figured his last NHL game was played in Philadelphia on April 26, 1997. The Flyers won that contest, 6-3, to complete a convincing opening-round playoff victory against the Penguins. Flyers fans applauded Lemieux as he left the ice, but that show of respect was of little solace to sullen Pittsburghers.

Keith (bleep) Primeau!

Weary fans at Mellon Arena - at least the ones still awake - went numb when Philadelphia's Keith Primeau whipped a shot past goaltender Ron Tugnutt at 92:01 of a fifth overtime in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Flyers' 2-1 victory evened a series the Penguins had led, 2-0, after improbably taking Games 1 and 2 in Philadelphia. The Flyers won the series, 4-2.

OMG, Kenny killed them

Ken Wregget's 104 regular-season victories are second only to goaltender Tom Barrasso in Penguins history. But he is not-so-fondly remembered in some Pittsburgh circles for his part in the Flyers' heartbreaking 4-1 victory at the Civic Arena in Game 7 of the 1989 Patrick Division final. The Flyers' comeback from a 3-2 series deficit was made complete by Wregget's superb performance.

Just for kicks

The Penguins were poised to snap a still-young losing streak in Philadelphia and prevent the Flyers from evening Montreal's NHL-record 28-game unbeaten steak. They led, 1-0, late in the third period on Dec. 20, 1979, when Philadelphia's Behn Wilson was credited with a tying goal at 15:52. He actually kicked the puck into the net. Neither team scored in overtime. The Flyers not only matched the Canadiens with a tie, but ultimately set a North American professional sports record with a 35-game unbeaten stretch.

Those are fighting words

Philadelphians shared their opinions about the Penguins with Tribune-Review sports writer Tricia Lafferty:

"I can't stand Sidney Crosby. I think he's good for the NHL, but I think he's a ... punk with his attitude. He doesn't have that feel of humility that people like to see in hockey players. He's just so whiny and seems like a little spoiled baby."

-- Dave Allen, 46, of Voorhees, N.J.

"They hate us more than we hate them because we beat them so many times before. We're tougher than them, and they're not happy about it."

-- Dave Cox, 17, of Philadelphia

"We know the Penguins are going to lay down in this series since they tanked the last game of the season to avoid facing the Flyers in Round 1. Tell Sidney Crosby he can join the cast of 'Blades of Glory 2,' featuring a figure skater with no teeth."

-- Joe Gallagher, 25, of Delaware County

"Pittsburgh fans hate being that 'other city,' and Philly fans could care less about Pittsburgh. Everyone wants to be like their big brother and Philly is like the big brother to Pittsburgh. Your big brother can still kick your (butt)."

-- Jack Johnson, 28, of Clifton Heights

"Penguins fans don't deserve a winner. They jump on and off the bandwagon. During the Mario Lemieux era, the Penguins had a great following. But once that ended and times got tough, the fans disappeared. The team was almost forced to leave the city. Now, after falling into some young talent, the fans are showing up again like they are die-hard Penguins fans. They're only willing to support a winner, and that's the reason they don't deserve one."

-- Rob Zeoli, 25, of Philadelphia

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