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Quick Strikes: The Battle of Florida begins

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The Cats are in town tonight to spawn some bitter in-state rivalry.

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Bolts

  • This guy is in town tonight, although James Reimer is getting the start:
  • There are several articles that are trying hard to drum up intrastate rivalry. I hope it works, because rivalry makes hockey that much more fun. "Obviously, it's a good rivalry," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "Last year, we finished one and two in the Atlantic. It was a lot of fun. This year, it's very early in the season. Fortunately, we're both 2-0 right now. It's a good test." [Sun-Sentinel]
  • "It should be a pretty good clash," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team lost four of five games to their in-state rivals last season. "They're a really good team. They won our division last year. They're strong on defense. They're strong down the middle. ... They've had a year to win together, so they're that much more confident in what they're doing." [Fox Sports]
  • "It's always a good time to be able to get on the road and be with the boys," said goalie James Reimer, who is expected to get his first start of the year against the Lightning. "Tampa Bay is obviously a big rivalry and I'm looking forward to being a part of it." [Miami Herald]
  • Two games into the season, there's been an interesting trend to drop the first two goals and then have to work to earn it all back for the win. But Bryan Burns says that this hasn't disheartened the players. [TBL]
  • Tasha at BoltsbytheBay sheds some light on the Bolts' two games worth of "high excitement" hockey. "The Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten off to rough starts in both their games this season, but Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop says 'staying with the system' is key." [Bolts by the Bay]
  • Is it awkward for Bishop to teach his replacement? Perhaps, but he’s doing it anyway. “‘Bish,’ Lightning starter Ben Bishop, is happy to help by sharing his expertise as one of the league's best puck-moving goaltenders.” [Tampa Bay Times]
  • Erik Condra addressed his demotion: "They gave me a couple of days just to figure my life out. I have a family and I have kids. It was definitely a shock to me. I was surprised with it,'' Condra said after his first practice in Syracuse last week. "But the good part about Tampa, and it seems like Syracuse, is it's a first-class organization. So, even when things aren't going the right way, or they have to do something tough... they gave me the respect that I think that I deserve. And I was happy about that part of it.'' [Syracuse.com]
  • For our Syracuse fans, the full broadcast of Game 2 vs. Rochester:

The Game

  • Our rivals are looking a little too good, Corsi-wise. They might be a better match than we want. In the off-season, they hired analytics-minded staff who then brought in players who drove possession. The result? Way too good. [Today's Slapshot]
  • If you have ESPN Insider, Craig Custance went into detail about this season's Cats. "But the Florida Panthers are an interesting team to check in on during early action because they are building off the success of last season. They won their division, completely revamped their defense and have jumped out to a 2-0 start with an NHL-best plus-four goal differential, allowing just two goals. Their opening day lineup had nine new players on it. The defense that was completely re-constructed? Doing just fine." [ESPN Insider]
  • Pretend you were born a hockey rock star, are not yet old enough to drink in America, but are already the captain of your NHL team. How would you handle it? "This year I think there's more pressure to perform and that's good," McDavid says. "It's something I've always had to deal with, it's nothing new to me." [Rolling Stone]
  • General Fanager is no more. The founder, Tom Poraszka, has been hired by Las Vegas as hockey ops analyst. Long live @CapFriendly.
  • Thieves in a Montreal sporting goods store took a page out of Spider-Man’s book, rappelling from the ceiling and stealing 400 (!!) hockey sticks, worth around $120,000, according to CBC. Unfortunately, this store opened just two months and has been targeted by thieves twice already. The thieves were caught on camera, thank goodness. [CBC]