- Associated Press - Monday, September 26, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Not even a joint announcement of the Winter Classic could thaw the rivalry between the Rangers and Flyers.

Hope the “24/7” cameras were rolling.

New York team president Glen Sather grabbed the microphone and made his bid to host the next Comedy Central roast.

“We’re going to come to Philadelphia,” Sather said, “and we are going to win.”

The 200 Flyers fans who came to baseball’s Citizens Bank Park for the long-awaited and overdue announcement of the Jan. 2 game jeered Sather.

“Now that’s more like it! I knew I could get a rise out of you sooner or later,” he said. “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, and we’re going to do the same thing on the second, 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.”

Exit, stage left.

Not so fast.

Flyers founder and chairman Ed Snider popped up and took a turn jabbing Sather.

“When he said, ‘we kicked the hell out of you in two Stanley Cups,’ he wasn’t talking about the Rangers,” Snider said. “I remember kicking the hell out of the Rangers on the way to our Cups!”

The fans loved Snider’s one-liners and the nod to the Flyers championships in 1975 and 1976 _ not the Stanley Cup losses to Sather’s Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987.

This was only the warmup act _ and with temperatures in the 80s, it was plenty warm _ for the biggest regular-season event in the NHL. The worst-kept secret in sports was finally let out of the bag when the league announced the Flyers vs. the Rangers in the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

The 45,000-seat ballpark is the setting for the fifth classic. The game is not held on its traditional Jan. 1 date because it conflicted with the final week of the NFL’s regular season.

The NHL will again partner with HBO Sports and broadcast the “24/7” reality franchise.

Sather, coach John Tortorella, and players Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik represented the Rangers. Coach Peter Laviolette, Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle and Scott Harnell represented the Flyers. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also was in attendance.

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