There have been numerous players who have been on both sides of the hockey rivalry in the Keystone State. All-stars and hall-of-famers such as Rick Tocchet, Jaromir Jagr, Paul Coffey, Rick MacLeish and Kevin Stevens have played on each end of Pennsylvania.
Max Talbot might not have the same amount of skill or individual accomplishments as some of those names, but when he left the Penguins and joined the Flyers as a free agent in 2011, he helped his new team defeat his old team in the 2012 postseason, his defection and subsequent success against his former employer added a level of intensity to what has been a long-standing rivalry.
When the Penguins host the Flyers tomorrow, Talbot will not be on the ice as he was dealt to the Avalanche late last month in exchange for forward Steve Downie.
Talbot, who was a member of the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup championship, remained friends with several of his teammates in Pittsburgh despite playing for the Flyers. Earlier today, following a practice at Consol Energy Center, members of the Penguins who have close ties to Talbot were asked if his departure from Philadelphia affected their relationship with him.
Kris Letang, defenseman - "No. It didn’t even really matter to me. Hockey is a sport. Yes, it’s a team game but at the same time, it’s a business. I think he made the move for himself and where his life was going. It’s just part of the game. You have to expect guys are going to change teams. Obviously, Max went to ‘Philly’ and it’s a big rival but at the same time it’s … friends off the ice and on the ice, it’s business."
Brooks Orpik, defenseman – "I think our relationship was the same with him. I think it was definitely weird playing against him after playing with him for so long. It’s kind of the last place you would think a guy here would choose to go to. Sometimes, that’s just the way it unfolds with the offer you get. I think most of us who were friendly with him here still are. I talked to him right after we lost to him [in the 2012 playoffs]. I was disappointed but I told him he was one of their best guys in the series. I don’t think I let up on him at all when I played against him. I’m sure he would say the same thing. That’s just being competitive. As soon as it was over, I think everyone remained friends."
Pascal Dupuis, right winger – "I’m still going to talk to him. He’s a friend off the ice. People loved him when he was here. They hated him when… I don’t want to say ‘hated him’ … they didn’t like it as much when he was a Flyer. The first thing I heard [after the trade] was that now we were allowed to like Max Talbot again. Max didn’t do anything wrong by going to ‘Philly.’ He got offered a big contract. Sometimes, as a hockey player, you’ve got to take some business decisions and that’s the one he took for himself."
Marc-Andre Fleury, goaltender – "You don’t stop being friends with somebody because he’s one a team you don’t like. It was weird that I had to play against him and the Flyers. It might be easier … on the heart to play him against Colorado."
Sidney Crosby, center – "I don’t think it changes really anything. I think once we get out there, we’ve got to do our thing and play hard. I won’t see him as much. That’s about the only thing it changes."
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)