Tampa/Philly: Rivalry roundup

If you haven't been following the Lightning/Flyers series, shame on you! But, to fill you in: it hasn't been pretty. For those of you who have been watching, you probably know it's only going to get worse.

The Tampa/Philly rivalry is most certainly nothing new. Even the Bucs, who had a shitty year, managed to ruin the opening of the Eagles' new stadium. Needless to say, the folks in Philadelphia won't soon forget that night, and wouldn't mind the Broad Street Bullies exacting some revenge in this playoff series.

The series is currently tied at 1-1, with game 3 being played in Philly tomorrow (Thursday).

So, for your convenience, here's a recap of everything that's happened on (and off) the ice thus far.

Game 2 brawl

fightGame 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a 6-2 blowout of the Lightning by the Flyers. As with every NHL game decided before the third period even starts, the game ended slowly and painfully with a series of brawls.

Andre Roy, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, joined a fight when an official was attempting to break it up, causing Alexei Zhamnov to attempt to join the action, in the process of which he managed to push an official - a big no-no. Then, with a minute left, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock put well-known enforcer Donald Brashear on the ice to hurt some people, which, of course, started yet another fight. The NHL reviewed the game but decided not to penalize either team any further.

'Shut your yap'

The trouble continued off the ice, as Lightning coach John Tortorella vocalized his displeasure of Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock engaging in verbal warfare with Lightning players on the ice. Said Tortorella:

Last time I looked, he's wearing a suit back there,
the same type of suit I'm wearing. He's not in the
battle. There are two quality teams here. He should
shut his yap. It's not about him. It's about two
quality teams.

We understand how Philly works as far as the dialogue
that goes on with all this stuff here, but when it
comes to a coach to an opposing player, it's
disrespectful and it's wrong. That's got to stop. Park
your ego. Shove it in your pocket.

Hitchcock, on the other hand, kept his response to the point:

Tell him to mind his own business.

Inciting a riot

Tortorella wasn't the only one complaining about the opposition, however. Hitchcock was upset about a replay that kept airing on the jumbotron above the ice at the St. Pete Times Forum during game 2. Donald Brashear landed a late hit on Lightning player Tim Taylor, which should have warranted a penalty, but no call was made. Moments later, because of the hit, a fight broke out. During the lull in play in which the referees worked out the penalties due to the fighting, the replay of Brashear's hit was played over and over.

Said Hitchcock:

I am listening to those people behind us, behind our
bench and they are not happy. And they are watching
this thing and then it comes up again and again. You
can't do it. You just can't do it.

Because of the ordeal, the NHL warned the Lightning that such activity at the St. Pete Times Forum will not be tolerated in the future.

You booze, you lose

boozeAs if playing a late hit on the jumbotron wasn't enough to cause chaos, the Tampa Bay Lightning are offering free and unlimited beer to anyone who buys season tickets for next year.

Unsurprisingly, this move upset some people who don't like the idea of 20,000 people driving home wasted in a city that offers no alternatives to driving your own sorry drunk ass home.

The Lightning's response to the criticism? They can have free soft drinks, too.

Game 3 airs Thursday at 7pm on ESPN. Do yourself a favor and tune in.

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Reverend Hughes