We're pretty sure you can examine any two teams in the NHL and find a multitude of connections between all the players on either roster. This is a sport which saw its supposed greatest player, Wayne Gretzky, play for four different NHL teams. There is hardly a shortage of player movement in this league.
The rosters of the Flyers and Penguins are no different. Taking a look at each roster, it's quite evident there's a lot of familiar faces on each:
-Georges Laraque, Ty Conklin and Jason Smith were teammates on the 2006 Edmonton Oilers squad that went to the Stanley Cup final.
-Petr Sykora and Joffrey Lupul were members of the 2006 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim team that fell to the Oilers in the 2006 Western Conference final.
-Darryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher were teammates on the Dallas Stars from 1996-97 until 2002-03 and won the Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999.
-Ty Conklin and Daniel Briere were members of the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres team that won the President's Trophy. Martin Biron played for the Sabres that season, but was dealt to Philadelphia at the trade deadline.
-Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury played for Canada in the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championship along with Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn.
-Crosby played with Carter, Richards and Coburn for Canada when it won the World Junior Championship in 2005.
-Fleury played with Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul in the 2003 World Junior Championships.
-Jarkko Ruutu played with Lasse Kukkonen, Kimmo Timonen, forward Sami Kapanen and goaltender Antero Niittymaki on Finland's 2006 Olympic team, which won the silver medal.
-Kris Beech, Adam Hall and Mark Eaton all played with the 2003-04 Nashville Predators along with Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall and Kimmo Timonen. Penguins general manager Ray Shero was the assistant general manager of the Predators at the time.
-Mark Eaton and Simon Gagne were members of the 2000 Flyers team that eliminated the Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
-Sidney Crosby and Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards won the IIHF World Championships with Canada in 2006.
-Kris Letang and Steve Downie won the IIHF World Junior Championship for Canada in 2006 and 2007.
-Gary Roberts and Sami Kapanen were teammates with the Carolina Hurricanes from 1997-98 until 1999-2000.
-Hal Gill and Mike Knuble were teammates with the Boston Bruins from 1999-2000 until 2003-04. Sergei Gonchar played with Gill and Knuble late in the 2003-04 season.
-Petr Sykora and Jason Smith were teammates with the New Jersey Devils from 1995-96 until 1996-97. Jim Dowd played with New Jersey in 1995-96.
-Sykora and Smith were teammates again in 2006-07 with the Edmonton Oilers. Joffrey Lupul and Patrick Thoresen were members of that team as well.
-Pascal Dupuis and Flyers center Jim Dowd were teammates on the Minnesota Wild from 2001-02 until 2003-04.
-Marian Hossa, Braydon Coburn and Jaroslav Modry were teammates on the 2005--06 Atlanta Thrashers.
-Hossa and Coburn played with Pascal Dupuis on the 2006-07 Thrashers.
-Petr Sykora, and Vaclav Prospal and Joffrey Lupul were teammates on the 2003-04 Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
-Sykora and Prospal played for the Czech Republic in the 1993 and 1994 World Junior Championships and the 2004 World Championships and World Cup.
-Marian Hossa and Vaclav Prospal were teammates with the Ottawa Senators from 1997-88 until 2000-01.
-During the 2004-05 lockout, Adam Hall played for Kal Pa Kuopio, a team in Finland that is owned partially by Sami Kapanen and Kimmo Timonen.
-Jeff Taffe and Daniel Briere were each members of the 2002-03 Phoenix Coyotes.
-Tyler Kennedy, Maxime Talbot, Kris Letang and Patrick Thoresen all spent time with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at one point in 2006-07
-Darryl Sydor and Jaroslav Modry each spent time with the Kings in 1995-96.
-Ryan Whitney and R.J. Umberger played for the United States in the 2002 IIHF World Junior Championships.
-Each team has a player from one-another's backyard. R.J. Umberger is a native of plum while Mark Eaton hails from Wilmington, Del.
-Eaton became the first Philadelphia-area player to ever play for the Flyers when he made his NHL debut Oct. 2, 1999.
-Many members on both teams have faced one another in the AHL playoffs before. Kris Beech, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Oprik, Dany Sabourin, Rob Scuderi, Maxime Talbot, Ryan Whitney and head coach Michel Therrien were members of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins teams that met the Philadelphia Phantoms in the 2004 and 2005 AHL playoffs. Jeff Carter, Riley Cote, Randy Jones, Antero Niittymaki, Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger and head coach John Stevens were members of those Phantoms teams.
This list is hardly complete either. We didn't even completely look at junior teams, international competition or minor league teams.
But like we stated earlier, you could take two teams like the Blue Jackets and Panthers and find a ton players with similar histories. That said, it's just striking to us that two organizations with such drastic contrasts in just about every way they approach the sport would have so many connections.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
A reader writes:
I am a Pittsburgh native currently living in Philadelphia while I finish school. I have been getting endless grief from my co-workers since Sunday. The Penguins-Flyers rivalry is alive and well at my workplace in the suburbs as you can see from this photo!
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Gary Roberts is "scared" of the Flyers.
-Maxime Talbot is hopeful he'll be able to play in Game 1.
-The final design for the new arena was approved.
-It didn't take long for tickets to Games 1 and 2 to sell out.
-How's that Hossa trade working out?
-Having trouble scheduling your life around Penguins games?
-What do you hate the most about the Flyers? Vote on it here.
-Check out this cool print of Mellon Arena.
-Illegal Curve has a preview of the series.
-Because Versus is so awesome, Game 1 might not be available in high definition. We suppose considering the game is on Versus, we should be grateful it's in color.
-Derian Hatcher is enjoying a few days off.
-The Flyers think Sidney Crosby is mature.
-Remember when Mike Keenan used to accuse Mario Lemieux of being a diver? It was back when Keenan used to be relevant.
-We're a little late with this, but "War Penguin" sent us a few photos from Game 5 against the Rangers:
-We're a little late with this too, but EN readers Erik Johnson, Andrew Dudas and Mondesi's House pointed out Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton is a hockey fan:
-Injured Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher returned to practice.
-The Stars are taking a page out of the Penguins' book and letting fans watch Game 1 outside of American Airlines Center.
-Dallas forward Stu Barnes is still dealing with a head injury.
-The Stars want to get physical with the Red Wings.
-The Red Wings' management knows what it's doing.
-Why is Detroit "Hockeytown?"
-Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios isn't ready to become a general manager.
-Detroit forward Dan Clearly is getting a chance to play some offense.
-Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood cares not for playoff beards.
-Stars goaltender Marty Turco has never won in Detroit.
-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are getting quite a bit of offense from their defense.
-Penguins forward Nathan Smith will stand trial for streaking.
-James Mirtle uses math to prove that the NHL's officiating is awful.
-The officials for the conference final were selected.
-Television ratings are down in Canada.
IIHF World Championships
-A goal with 47 seconds left in regulation by Senators forward Dany Heatley gave Canada a 5-4 win against the United States.
-The win was a wake-up call for Canada.
-Capitals forward Sergei Fedorov had a goal and an assist in Russia's 4-1 win against Denmark.
-The Czech Republic got two goals from Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata and routed Italy, 7-2.
-Forward Aleksejs Sirokovs scored two goals in Latvia's 3-0 win against Slovenia.
-For the United States, the World Championships are essentially an audition for the 2010 Olympics.
-Jaromir Jagr wants to stay with the Rangers.
-Rangers forward Sean Avery began to write his will after his spleen injury in Game 3 against the Penguins.
-The Sabres signed Boston College forward Nathan Gerbe.
-The Sabres are only for sale if the new owner pledges to keep the franchise in Buffalo.
-Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin enjoys playing for a loser thank you very much.
-The job status of Sharks coach Ron Wilson is uncertain.