I am heading to New Jersey this weekend for my annual fantasy baseball draft and a night in Atlantic City. In addition, I am attending the New Jersey Devils-Philadelphia Flyers hockey game on Friday night. I'm in a bit of a quandary in that I don't know who to support. It is probably best for the Devils to lose so that the Pittsburgh Penguins, my hockey team of choice, can move closer to winning the division. However, it is going to be really difficult to root for the Flyers, arguably the Penguins biggest rival.
Therefore, I asked some of the biggest hockey and Pittsburgh Penguins fans I know for their opinions. Please note that the question was posed and the answers received prior to Thursday night’s Penguins’ victory over the New York Islanders and Devils’ loss to the New York Rangers, which virtually guarantees that the Penguins will win the Atlantic division.
Seth of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Empty Netters
I would almost look at this in terms of gambling. You may hate "X" team a lot, but I'm sure you like your wallet a lot more.
In other words, root for what benefits you or your team more in terms of tangible gains. I would root for the Flyers in this case.
Mystery Man of Tidbits and the Angry Consumer
It is tough to cheer for a team that you absolutely hate. Unfortunately it is all about the team you love, our beloved Pens, and not the team you hate, the Flyers. I don't know why this is seriously a dilemma. Do you really love the Devils anyway? I mean they are a division rival. The closest comparison I can make is this:
The Patriots are playing the Browns. If the Browns lose the Steelers are in the playoffs. I hate the Pats, but have to cheer for them.
Greg Wyshynski of AOL Fanhouse and Deadspin
As for rooting for either the Flyers or the Devils, I think it all depends on what you want out of life. Do you want a Devils team that couldn't find the back of an opponent's net with a map and a giant flashing sign that reads "Back of Opponent's Net" to, perhaps, gain a few points on the Penguins?
Do you want the Flyers to earn a few points, move up the standings and into a likely first-round battle against Pittsburgh for Keystone State supremacy? Better question: Do you want Sidney in a seven-game series against Riley Cote and Steve Downey. Even better question, in light of the previous question: Do you value Sidney's ability to walk without benefit of a cane?
I'd go ahead and root for the Devils, because they are on the side of light (irony) while the Flyers are the devil's tools. But I think your question is yet another indication that fans really do like ties.
My response: Hmm...That really is tough question for me. Obviously, I hate both teams due to our division rivalries. I guess I will have to root for the Devils because I absolutely loathe the Flyers and my disdain for them actually outweighs my hatred for the Devils. I would have an enormous Ruutu-like grin on my face if their playoff hopes come down to their games with us the last week of the season. It would be soooooo sweet to knock them out and have a team like the Caps make it in instead. They would just be crushed. With that said, the division heavy schedules for all of us will surely make for some interesting hockey the next ten days. The Devils play NYR, PHI, NYI, BOS, PHI and I think that from those games they may get points in 4 of 5 of them. On the other hand the Cryers have games against NJ, NYI, PIT, NJ, PIT and they may end up with points from only the NYI game. I think that if the Pens win tonight against the Islanders and the Rangers beat Jersey the division is ours so F@#& Filthadelphia!!!
Pat from Doubt About It
There are a number of factors that are at play in answering this question:
- Yes, a Devils loss does more to solidify a Penguins Division title. Although by Friday, that may or may not still matter given the slate of games the Pens have this week.
- The Flyers, it should be noted, are by no means locks to make the playoffs. A Flyers loss against the Devils certainly wouldn't help their chances, and it would likely make their final two games against the Pens even more significant. The question then becomes: how much do you want those last two games against the Flyers to matter? Do you want the chance to knock them out? Or do you want to have the games be largely meaningless so that Crosby, Fleury et al can rest? Again, with the Flyers current standing, it is impossible to tell how it will play out.
- From a "how much do you respect this organization" stand point, I pick New Jersey in a landslide. Yeah, NJ has a rather weak fan base and doesn't have the hockey history that Philly does. But when I think of Philly's hockey history, I think of names like Hextall, Lindross, Bobby Clarke, and Ben Eager come to mind. Not exactly characters I associate with respect.
- Final verdict: go with New Jersey. Division titles are meaningless when compared to seeing the Philadelphia Flyers agonize in defeat. And besides, I'd like to see the Devils make a run...only to still fall short of the Pens in the standings.
Vote None of the Above (A Tribute to Brewster’s Millions)
hahaah we would wear a pens jersey and just boo everything.
It's a tough call on who to root for, though.
Koz, a contributor of Mondesi’s House
Let me think about this. My first reaction was to strap dynamite to your chest, but you seem like a nice guy and suicide bombing isn't all it's cracked up to be.
You can't root for either team. Overtime is the worst case scenario, because it means 3 points are distributed in the division. My advice is to wear as much Penguins stuff as you can and walk around with your nose high in the air. Boo everything that happens and watch the game with an expression of disdain you might show while cleaning up dog feces.
If it is a close game in the third, pray silently for a regulation finish. At this point, a Flyers victory has much less impact on the Pens, so that's the way you probably should lean, but the only inkling of happiness you feel during the game should be from inspecting what a modern hockey arena looks like, knowing the new Penguins arena will be top-notch. The only other reasons for happiness would be if a fan were injured by a stray puck or Martin Brodeur announces his immediate retirement.
PittGirl at The Burgh Blog
Devils versus Flyers?!? And you want to ROOT for, nay SUPPORT one of them? Dude, neither the Devils nor the Flyers are the Penguins, so you root for neither, you wear your Crosby jersey, you get drunk and you use every chance you can to drunkenly yell at the lot of them to go to hell because this year is OUR YEAR.
Tecmo of Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies
I cannot, in good conscience, tell you to root for the Devils OR the Flyers.
The Flyers are struggling to make the playoffs while the Devils are assured of a spot. There's a chance that we might play the Flyers in the first round, which would collectively shut down the Pennsylvania-hockey-fan-landscape. However, I can't root for them to win. I can't stand the Devils at all, so I can't tell you to root for them, either.
In my opinion, you should probably pull for a 0-0 tie late in the game, followed by both teams being incinerated in a massive fire. I hope you make it out of the inferno in time.
Enjoy the game
From Going Five Hole
I understand the pickle you're in. Unfortunately, these days we can't root for ties and someone has to win. I think you should just go and enjoy the game itself. Granted, you hate both teams, but you love hockey. Root for an exciting game...
This may be my favorite answer. I really do love the excitement of going to live sporting events, especially hockey games. That is part of the reason why I have undertaken a multi-year hockey road trip in which my friend and I are attempting to visit every NHL city/arena. I’m going to sit back and enjoy the game.
Oh, I must have missed the last line of Going Five Hole’s response:
...and maybe for Brodeur to tweak a hammy or something.