The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers has been, at least in my estimation, among the very best in the entire National Hockey League in recent years and there has been no shortage of animosity between these two teams as a result.
On Saturday night the two rivals faced off once again although this time around there were some legitimate questions about whether or not the rivalry would deliver given how much each team has struggled at times this season. Those concerns were quickly alleviated however as things got off to a raucous start in the first period thanks to a heavyweight battle between 2 very tough customers. It was massive Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak who took on Wayne Simmonds in one of the better fights we've seen this season, with both men landing significant punches on the other and with both men looking like they could have continued the onslaught if not for the officials on the ice.
That battle between Oleksiak and Simmonds received plenty of coverage but another moment during the game that has received far less attention than the fight has gone relatively unnoticed it seems. During the game there was a rather intimate moment between Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Philadelphia Flyers bruiser Radko Gudas, although to be fair neither man involved probably saw it that way.
Gudas, a once quite dirty player who really appears to have cleaned up his game as of late, leveled Crosby along the boards with a big hit during the game, a hit that Crosby seemed none too pleased about. Now Gudas likely would have left it there had it not been for the intense rivalry that I spoke of early, and perhaps also if it had not been the opposing team's most valuable player and captain that he just leveled.
Instead Gudas gave Crosby some extra business after the hit itself with a little face wash with what I can only imagine is a particular smelly glove, a move that one Flyers fan hilariously pointed out resembled something like Gudas wiping away Crosby's tears. It was a pretty cool moment between two guys who clearly do not like one another and it bodes well for the future rivalry game between these two franchises.