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.”
- Extended overtime likely to be on agenda in GMs’ March meeting 21
- Lundqvist shuts out Red Wings to claim 300th victory 9
- NHL on NBCSN: Hawks know they can’t take Sabres lightly 10
- NHL on NBC: Red Wings, Rangers fight to cling onto playoff spots 2
- Video: Flames score center-ice goal against Canucks’ Lack 18
- Stars believe Lehtonen suffered concussion from Haula collision (update) 23
- Video: Stars retire Mike Modano’s jersey 11
- Rostislav Klesla passes on joining Sabres organization following trade 12
- Ryan Murray has knee surgery, likely done for season 1
- Washington finally signs top prospect Kuznetsov 33
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (66)