All week at NBC Sports Philadelphia, we're debating the biggest villains in Philly sports history. Today, we look at the Flyers. You can vote here.
There’s nothing quite like the Flyers-Penguins rivalry — it’s one of the best in sports.
With that being said, the Flyers’ biggest villain is the main factor in this heated battle of Pennsylvania — none other than Sidney Crosby.
You can argue Crosby is a player who is a villain to any team and that’s probably a little bit true, but in the last 20 years for the orange and black, there is truly no bigger enemy than No. 87.
Crosby epitomizes everything Philly fans love to hate. His tendency to dive and draw penalties from the referees, his skill in the Pens sweater and of course that complaining that comes during and after a game (which Flyers fans love to feed off of).
It all started back on Nov. 16, 2005 — the official introduction of Crosby to the Flyers-Pens rivalry at the then-Wachovia Center. Derian Hatcher gave a big not-so-warm welcome to Crosby by knocking out two of his teeth with a stick to the mouth. Another high-stick came later in the game and a young 18-year-old Crosby displayed his complaints to the refs, which led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. To put the cherry on top, he went ahead and netted the overtime game-winner on Broad Street.
There’s no denying the 2005 first overall pick has some of the best talent hockey has ever seen. His three Stanley Cups, 10-plus awards, eight All-Star appearances and numerous seasons leading the league in offense all speak for that — but the success he’s been able to have against the Flyers is some of the best in his career. Throughout his 15 years in Pittsburgh, Crosby has scored more goals against the Flyers than he has against any other team, and also has the second-most points against the Flyers than he does against any other team in his career.
These facts increase the tension with Philly even more.
Nothing unites Flyers fans more than hating Crosby. The passion to never miss a “boo” when No. 87 has the puck and cheering when he flubs on a shot or has a stumble is remarkable.
Crosby once complained that the Wells Fargo Center is a vicious atmosphere, not a fun atmosphere. After a game against the Flyers in 2012, Crosby was quoted saying, “I don’t like them, I don’t like any guy on their team.”
The fans feed off of that.
There is no bigger villain to the Flyers than Sidney Crosby.
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