Brandon Dubinsky fires back at Flyers

Fans got a glimpse of the heated rivalry to be featured in the NHL's
2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic during the New York Rangers' chippy 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

And two days after the game, the tension between the two teams continued to escalate.

Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky fired back at Flyers enforcer Jody Shelley, who called him a "weasel" in HBO's 15-minute "24/7" teaser.

"It won't be long before he's out of the league, because he's a terrible hockey player," Dubinsky told the New York Daily News on Monday.

Dubinsky, who led the Rangers in scoring last season, continued to blast his former teammate, who has played only 10 of 23 games for Philadelphia this season.

"First of all, if I was him, I'd keep my mouth shut if I don't play, especially since I never see him on the ice," said Dubinsky, who has one goal and nine assists in 20 games for the Rangers this season. "He's usually just yapping from the bench, and I guess now he's yapping from behind the video camera. So that's about all I have to say."

But he didn't stop there. The 25-year-old forward also called Flyers antagonist Zac Rinaldo "an idiot." Rinaldo fought Rangers' tough guy Brandon Prust right after the opening faceoff Saturday in the first of two bouts for Prust in the first period.

"I think he's an idiot," Dubinsky said. "He's not really a good hockey player. So if that's what he does to try to get under our skin, I don't think it works very well. He's not very effective at it. I think they should just keep putting him on the ice because he's a liability against us."

The war of words is sure to continue with HBO camera crews descending on both teams next month to chronicle their every move leading up to the Jan. 2 game, but the Rangers have another captivating match soon.

The 12-5-3 squad will host Sidney Crosby and the Atlantic division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins in their first game against the league's biggest superstar since he returned from a lengthy absence

Crosby, who was sidelined for 10 months with a concussion, delivered a four-point performance in his first game back against the Islanders last Monday and has shown little signs of rust.

"I put him as the best player in the game," said center Brad Richards.
"It's always fun, a challenge. They're a good team without him also, but obviously he's going to bring a lot more to them."

Said Rangers coach John Tortorella:

"He's an important guy to the game, an ambassador to the game. He's that good. But then it ends there. We're going to play him straight up."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.