September 26, 2011
Things we expected to see at the 2012 Winter Classic press conference at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday: Gary Bettman, an HBO executive, at least one Jersey Foul and the proposed location of the rink for the Jan. 2 outdoor game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
What we didn't expect to see: Rangers GM Glen Sather cutting an epic heel promo that would make Ric Flair 'woo', talking smack about the Flyers and the Philadelphia Phillies while guaranteeing a victory in the Winter Classic, a Stanley Cup title and a Yankees' World Series win:
The clip mercifully cuts out a very tepid beginning to Sather's speech that had a "who gave the old guy the open mic at the wedding banquet?" quality to it. But the wily veteran of the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers front offices eventually decided to poke the bees' nest.
For the video impaired, Sather said:
"We're gonna come to Philadelphia, and we are going to win. [Crowd boos, somebody says "no way!"] Now that's more like it! I knew I could get a rise out of you sooner or later. It's a great event. I've respected the fans in Philadelphia all the years I've been here. I'm sorry we kicked the hell out of you twice in the Stanley Cup [shock, awe from crowd] and we're going to do the same thing on [Jan. 2] and at the end of the year we will be carrying the Cup, just like the Yankees are going to have the world championship as well."
Then he gave the crowd a crotch-chop and said "hit my music." At least, in our minds he did.
Then it was time for a short rebuttal from Ed Snider, chairman of the Philadelphia Flyers and, little known fact, owner of the company that owns NBC, on which the Winter Classic will air. Said Snider:
"When he said 'we kicked the hell out of you in two Stanley Cups' he wasn't talking about the Rangers … I remember kicking the hell out of the Rangers on the way to our Cups! [Crowd cheers]"
Alright, NHL, it's pretty clear what has to happen here. Sather. Snider. Sumo suits. Second intermission. Make it so, Gary.