Michalek new to Penguins-Flyers rivalry
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There will be a lot of firsts at Consol Energy Center this evening.
The first regular-season NHL game played there.
The first game of the 2010-11 season for the Penguins.
And the first time defenseman Zbynek Michalek will participate in a Penguins-Philadelphia game, an event with few equals in the NHL.
"It would be like a Calgary-Edmonton game in Alberta," Penguins left winger Matt Cooke said Wednesday.
Not a bad call. The Penguins and Flyers do share a state, the way the Flames and Oilers share a province. And they do have a deep-seated dislike for one another that tends to percolate to the surface when they share a slab of ice.
"I don't think you ever can prepare someone for it," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "They just have to experience it, and go from there."
Michalek was signed this summer as a free agent from Phoenix, where San Jose was the Coyotes' most bitter rival.
"I don't know why, but it was always a very intense game against them," he said.
Whether Coyotes-Sharks games had the nasty edge so often evident when the Penguins and Flyers meet is another matter.
"I've been hearing a lot about the Philly-Pittsburgh rivalry," Michalek said. "I don't really know about it. I didn't follow Eastern Conference hockey very closely. I'm just waiting to see how it is."
It shouldn't take him long to find out.
First Published October 7, 2010 12:00 am