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  It boggles the mind that what should be Hockey's most natural rivalry south of the Mason Dixon line has taken this long to finally develop but it looks to be here. With a vengeance.


  It beganlast year when Sam Bennett took a mindless charge against Blake Coleman in a playoff game leading to a suspension, it now has boiled over to th preseason Bennett went behind the net and ran a shoulder into the Lightnings least replaceablr player, goalie Vasilevskiy and all hell broke loose, both on that play and for the rest of the game. Corey Perry of the Bolts went around hitting everything, Sergechev got into a fight, the Cats did not back down. The two teams glared at each other at the end of the game signaling it was far from over. 


  Both teams IMHO are among the most fun to watch in Hockey today, they are arguably among the top four or five talent wise and a good old fashioned hate has started between them Twenty years late, but better late than never.


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Thing about this "rivalry" is that it was all based on simple geography, which honestly, is a pretty thin premise to base any sustainable rivalry on.
Even the Battle of Alberta, or the NY Metro Area Battles, Battle of Pennsylvania and any California team rivalries, despite being geographically fitting, needed some real meaningful, hateful, important games or series to get them started (along with whatever actions happen within) to really spark them, then, off they go!

Problem with the Florida state one is, there has NEVER been a time when both the Panthers and Lightning were good enough to be playing meaningful hockey........either the Panthers were competitive while the Bolts were not, or vice versa, or, as been the case throughout their history since their inceptions, BOTH have been bad at the same time.

That all changed about two seasons ago, however, and it does seem to be spilling over into this season if last year's playoffs and this year's pre-season are any indication.
Finally.... The Bolts are Champs (and they've been good awhile), and the Panthers look like they are rising to that level as well.

Now THAT has all the makings of an authentic rivalry!
They had their first playoff series last year and if both stay their course, could be in line to meet again this coming post season, all the while trying to one up each other within the division as they jockey for playoff position.

With all this going on, I no longer have to yell at people to "STOP IT WITH THE FLORIDA RIVALRY! THERE IS NO RIVALRY!!" 
It's a thing now.... :) 

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Lightning and Ice.  Ice and Lightning.


 Southeast Florida had the natural name “Miami Ice” and blew it…both the hot vs cold contrast, as well as any fun panache and spin from the hit 80’s show.  


Yeah yeah Florida’s panthers nearly went extinct but have rebounded some but they went too far in eschewing the Crockett and Tubbs connection.  Such a  (ahem) “vice” to have done so.


Bah Humbug!  😤 

Edited by SaucyJack
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