PHILADELPHIA---Leave it to Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather to put some sizzle in the cheese steak.
After hearing Phillies president Dave Montgomery, Flyers chairman Ed Snider and Mayor Michael Nutter praise their teams to the fans wearing orange jerseys in the front rows of the gathering for the announcement of the Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers at Citizens Bank Park yesterday, Sather fired back.
First, he complimented Snider’s long tenure at the helm. “But we’re going to come to play and we’re going to win.”
When the fans booed, Sather responded: “That’s more like it…I knew I could get a rise out of you sooner or later… I’ve respected the fans in Philadelphia all the years we’ve been in... We kicked the hell out of you twice in the Stanley Cup and we’ll do that on Jan. 2 and, at the end of the year, we’ll be carrying the Cup just like the Yankees are going to win the World Series.”
In his Stanley Cup reference, Sather was alluding to his years with the Edmonton Oilers, and Snider immediately reminded him that the Flyers “kicked the Rangers’ butts” on their way to their Cup. So, the long-time rivalry between these franchises was rekindled.
Sather also welcomed the opportunity for a national showcase on NBC and HBO, which will embed camera crews with the team for its four-part 24/7 series, which begins Dec. 14.
“I was a little bit concerned about what I saw last year (on HBO),” Sather said. “It wasn’t all wine and roses, but think you can figure a way. We’ve got probably one of the youngest teams in the league this year; the pressure, the exposure, the atmosphere is going to help a lot of these guys develop. I like that challenge.”
Sather suggested that coach John Tortorella could handle the extra coverage, and Tortorella agreed.
“If you’re asking a coach, ‘Are you thrilled about cameras all over the place?’ No,” Tortorella said. “But it’s not about the coach. It’s about the organizations and we’re honored to be part of it with Philly. We do have a little say as far as what’s put on that TV along the way. It’ll be a balancing act. There’s a lot of things that happen as you go through emotions and games and situations. I just want to make sure there’s no embarrassing things, especially to the players that don’t need to be out there. And I don’t think we’ll have a problem.”
Note: An outdoor alumni game between the Rangers and Flyers will be held on Dec. 31...No word on when the jerseys will be unveiled. Last year, it was late October... .