Hartnell: 'There's a level of hatred'

We've seen enough regular-season games between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers to have have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a best-of-seven playoff series -- animosity, bad blood and plenty of post-whistle extracurriculars.

Some rough stuff in front of the net? Count on it. A Zac Rinaldo-Daniel Carcillo meeting of the minds? A very good possibility.

Heck, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell casually dropped the H-bomb, and the series hasn’t even started!

“I think there is a level of hatred by our players to their players, their fans to our fans just being so close and the history behind both franchises,” he said to CSN Philly. “It’s going to be a battle.”

There won’t be any need to manufacture a level of contempt between the Blueshirts and Broad Street Bullies. A playoff-esque level of nastiness has always been a staple of these games.

“It’s perfect. It’s what you want, right?” Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said in an interview with CSN Philly. “It’s a playoff series. It’s going to be a battle. Even if you do go into a series without having bad blood with a team, I guarantee by Game 2 it’s going to be boiling. That’s the way hockey [is] supposed to play.”

Regarded as one of the most compelling series the NHL has to offer in the first round of action, it has even gained some national attention as ESPN's Keith Olbermann named the Philadelphia Flyers’ head of social media the Worst Person in the World in Sports, one of his daily segments of his late-night show.

The Flyers sent out a cheeky message via the team’s official Twitter account, encouraging fans to do some “spring cleaning” with their Facebook accounts. The subsequent link provided fans a way to identify all the Rangers fans that popped up as “friends” on their account.

Fun stuff already, and the puck has yet to drop.

Stay tuned for what should be an entertaining Game 1 on Thursday night (7 ET) at Madison Square Garden.