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THN.com Blog: Flyers-Sabres rivalry well on its way

There's no love lost between Philly and Buffalo.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

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There's no love lost between Philly and Buffalo. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Interesting to watch the battle for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference play out, mainly because two of the teams in the hunt – Philadelphia (currently eighth in the East) and Buffalo (tenth) have started to develop quite a rivalry over the last few seasons.

In the 2006 playoffs, the Sabres humiliated the Flyers 7-1 in the deciding game of their first-round series, in the process providing a harbinger of the misery that was to come for Philly fans the following season. Since then, Philadelphia has picked up two now-former Sabres (Martin Biron and Daniel Briere) to speed their rebuild.

And now, one team could wind up a single point behind the other for the right to keep playing after the regular season ends. I’m not saying the tension between the two franchises has reached Toronto/Montreal or Islanders/Rangers intensity, but little by little, the Sabres and Flyers are cultivating the type of ill will that, allowed to fester a bit longer, could get them there.

• Another depressing reminder of the status – or lack thereof – the NHL has in the United States these days: while LeBron James gets small Caribbean countries handed over to him as payment for endorsement contracts, Washington star Alex Ovechkin signs a six-month endorsement deal with an American haircutting chain that specializes in $14 lid snips.

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I don’t know what’s worse – the fact the chain picked Ovie’s, um, natural do as an example of their best work, or the fact they wouldn’t even commit to him for more than a half-year! For his sake, let’s hope Mike Commodore doesn’t sign with the Caps in the off-season.

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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