May 15, 2010, 5:20 PM EST
Hal Gill is a big man who can apparently talk a big game. There might be some fans and suits who are disappointed that the Eastern Conference finals lacks a dream match on the Pittsburgh-Washington scale, but if Gill’s candid words are any indication, the series should be a lot of fun.
“It’s easy to hate the Flyers,” said Gill, a former Pittsburgh Penguin who lived through the intense cross-state rivalry in the playoffs the last two seasons. “They’ve been the Broad Street Bullies, their fans are loud and obnoxious.
“If you’re from Philly that’s great, if you’re not you hate them. It’s fun to hate the Flyers, just like it’s fun for them to hate our fans and our team. It should be a good series as far as hate goes.”
I love it. It’s not like he’s breaking new ground with his comments and he’s not being particularly insulting, but it’s still refreshing to hear such frankness from a hockey player. Besides, he didn’t even make a battery throwing joke.
My hope is that this turns into a war of words that would fit in well on a program hosted by Nick Cannon. (That’s right, I just sent you to a highlight video for a wildly unfunny show called “Wild’n’Out.” You’re welcome.)
Gill seems like the type of guy who could give the sport a much-needed boost in entertainment value. Say what you want about loudmouths like Sean Avery, at least they don’t communicate with the media solely in a series of publicist-coached cliches. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last great quote since both teams feature their fair share of characters.
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