Dec 21, 2013, 9:41 AM EDT
There was a time when the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs enjoyed a fierce rivalry, but it cooled significantly in the years following Toronto’s move to the Eastern Conference for the 1998-99 campaign.
“I feel like hate is built through an incident or playoffs,” Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary told the Detroit News. “We haven’t even played these guys in years. It doesn’t work like that (instant rivalry). It’s built over time and through playoffs, that drives rivalries.
“You see a team in the playoffs, then see them again the next year.”
Maintaining that kind of rivalry in recent years would have been a near impossible feat, but now that Detroit and Toronto are once again playing in the same division, they have a chance to rebuild what was lost.
That task will be highlighted on Jan. 1 when these clubs face off in the Winter Classic, but it will begin tonight in their first meeting as Atlantic Division adversaries.
“Certainly we want to go out and play well and set the tone,” Cleary said. “This will be an important game heading into the (Christmas) break.”
- Risk Factors: Boston Bruins edition 0
- Hello Johansen? Boone Jenner out with broken hand 4
- Bruins release Leino; Boychuk staying put? 18
- Babcock doesn’t think this will be his last year with the Wings 9
- Starting tomorrow, PHT’s ‘Risk Factors’ Series 6
- Krug, Smith sign with Bruins 19
- PHT Morning Skate: Grigorenko with highlight-reel shootout goal 7
- Sabres lose Larsson, Kaleta to head injuries, Leafs’ Booth out too (Update: Franson’s hurt) 5
- Report: Dal Colle signs with Islanders (Updated) 1
- Bridge built: Blues lock up Schwartz to two-year deal reportedly worth $4.7M 12
- Jordan Subban has ‘moved on’ after ‘unfortunate’ photo caption by Vancouver papers (52)
- Players pushed for coaching fines because they were ‘encouraged’ to dive (34)
- Sabres’ Nolan, Avalanche don’t believe in analytics (32)
- Caps unveil new Winter Classic jerseys (28)
- Ouch: Datsyuk (separated shoulder) out 4-5 weeks (27)