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First Flyers-Lightning game has potential for fireworks

Sep 12, 2013, 12:38 PM EDT

Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers and B.J. Crombeen #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fight in the first period on February 5, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(February 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Circle Wednesday, Nov. 27 on your calendars.

That will mark the first matchup of the season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, two teams that — despite not having a great traditional rivalry — could produce one of the most heated battles this year.

A few things to keep an eye on for the 27th, when the two teams meet at Tampa Bay Times forum…

Vinny comes home

Heading in, there’ll be plenty of emotion regarding the return of longtime Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier.

Bought out of his 11-year, $85 million deal in July, Lecavalier — the Lightning’s all-time leader in games played (1,037), goals (383), power play goals (112) and game-winning goals (60) — quickly signed with Philadelphia, saying he wanted to play in a passionate hockey market and preferred playing the Flyers’ style as opposed to “staying on your heels.”

Those quips aside, Tampa’s response should be overwhelmingly positive.

Lecavalier was a beloved figure in the area and was known for his community involvement — in 2007, he pledged $3 million to a pediatric cancer center (that bears his name) at the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

The Rinaldo thing

Saying the Lightning dislike Zac Rinaldo is putting it lightly.

The Flyers forward was a thorn in the Bolts’ side throughout last season — cold-cocking BJ Crombeen in a fight, taking out both Victor Hedman and Ryan Malone — which led to Tampa players suggesting retribution is in order.

“Obviously, when he’s hurting guys, you want him to be accountable for his actions,” Crombeen told the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s always a time and place, and it will come.

“You just have to wait for it.”

Crombeen’s sentiment was echoed by Lightning winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

“Sometimes [Rinaldo] just doesn’t think,” he explained. “At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior.”

In case you’re unaware of Rinaldo’s history with the Lightning, let’s go to the video.

First, here’s the incident with Crombeen from Feb. 5:

Both combatants had distinctly different views on the fight.

“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing,” Crombeen said after the game. “I mean, guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not.”

When asked about the scrap, Rinaldo said he finished it properly.

“I hit him until he was down,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I hit him until he was down. I made sure he was down and that was it.

“I kind of felt bad in case I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did.”

Then — on Mar. 18, when the Bolts beat the Flyers 4-2 in Tampa — Rinaldo landed big hits on Hedman and Malone, with the latter ending up on injured reserve (shoulder).

Here’s the hit in question:

On Wednesday, Malone addressed the hit in a rather cryptic fashion.

“I don’t need to elaborate on that,” Malone told the Tampa Bay Times. “It all works itself out later.”

Other stuff

— The Flyers and Lightning were engaged in the infamous “trap game” of 2011.

— The Lightning pried Matt Carle away from Philadelphia during last year’s free agent period.

  1. somekat - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Clean fight, don’t step to people you can’t beat

    Clean hit, protect yourselves at all times son

    Whiner Bolts players. Their problem is, without doing something dirty, nobody on their roster can beat Rinaldo, ask Crombeen (assuming that glazed over look in his eyes is gone)

    • mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Don’t mess with Rinaldo. Crombeen bucked up to him and he got what he deserved. The hits were clean and unfortunately somebody got hurt. This is a mans game, son. Clean hits and one hell of a knock out. If crombeen retires from hockey he should open a donut shop because he has glaze oozing from his eyeballs. I am actually excited for this game now. Be careful, tampa… don’t start things you don’t want handled

      • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        plenty of guys “mess with rinaldo” and come out clean. ask brandon prust, he owns rinaldo. thornton flung him around like a rag doll last year, kenopka, brown, bradley and others the year before that. he gets what he deserves as much as he gives it, he’s not that big and he cant fight THAT well despite the fact that he fights a lot.

      • mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        Well he’s not mayweather so yeah he is going to lose some fights. Go ahead and name some guys who are undefeated in fights so your point can be relevant. Look up rinaldo fights on you tube and look at the bigger guys and tough guys he has taken down. He keeps teams from cheap shotting our star players. Rinaldo makes you pay.

      • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        you say it again. he doesnt make you pay if he loses the fight he picks. which is about 80% of the time. look at his fight card from 2011-2012 – he won 3 of 15 fights…and to guys like prust who is hardly a heavyweight himself, its not very convincing. guys arent scared of him. the only guy he has beaten convincingly and even worth mentioning was crombeen last year. every other guy that should beat rinaldo did and the other guys that maybe would be considered an even or fair fight beat him too.

      • DonkeyStick - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:07 PM

        You guys do realize Rinaldo is not a “fighter” correct? He is an energy guy who runs around and makes people keep their heads up, hits anything that moves, and gets the crowd into games. He is not a “fighter” but will fight. There is a difference.

    • islesjb - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      He was still swinging at him after Crombeen was down on one knee the ice, stunned from the first blow. The only thing that stopped him from continuing to swing was the officials stopping the fight. Don’t know how you can call that fight clean.

      • mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Rinaldo is a fighter and you fight until the end. How many times have guys slipped then gotten back up and kept swinging? He actually hit him in the shoulder with the second shot but crombeen wasn’t technically ‘down’ at that point so Rinaldo has to protect himself. Crombeen never should have started the fight. It is what it is. You can whine about it or accept that crombeen got beat down. The choice is yours. But I don’t recommend they try to retaliate against Rinaldo. Rinaldo is nuts.

      • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        rinaldo loses more fights than he wins, he was probably excited when he realized he was winning against crombeen. i dont have a problem with the incident, stuff happens.

      • makemulletsmandatory - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        down on one knee is NOT the same as “beeing down”.

        Just so you know.
        You should try it.. Fighting on the ice. Pretty fun.

      • mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Rinaldo loses more fights than wins?! Are you kidding me?! The guy is 5 11 and fights guys who are 6’3 and 6’4 and cones out on top. He is fearless and he is exciting to watch. The other team is scared of him and that says a lot about how good he does his job on the ice. Other teams wish they had rinaldo. Thumbs down thiscomment all you want… It only confirms my statement. Go flyers

      • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        dude you are a fool if you think he’s coming out on top or if you think he is giving up that much height and weight. cronbeem, thats it. look it up man.

    • nj666 - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      rinaldo is a joke of a hockey player and is taking up a roster spot on the flyers instead of someone with talent.

      • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        you wrong

      • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        This is such a typical assessment from an opposing fan. You guys despise Rinaldo so naturally he must be useless. Anyone who knows hockey would tell you that Rinaldo was an important contributor last last season. He provides essential energy- there have been plenty of games where the Flyers came out flat and a Rinaldo hit or fight would ignite him. He also draws more penalties than he takes, which is extremely valuable. If the fans hate him so much can you imagine the contempt players have for him? And he actually has the ability to kill penalties and contribute some on offense. Expect him to battle for a regular PK job this year. You guys can keep hating him and we’ll keep loving him here, bc he’s gonna be a big part of the Flyers success going forward.

      • mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Wow you have no idea what you are talking about. Lol. Every team needs a guy like ribaldo. He keeps our guys safe and makes the other team keep their heads up bc of his bone crushing hits. He won’t pot a lot of goals but what he does off the score sheet is fantastic! Building a team isn’t about having a team full of goal scorers. Every team needs their role players. You need to educate yourself and the chemistry of a team and how valuable a guy like rinaldo is

    • makemulletsmandatory - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      How can this post be voted down?
      And what kind of people do the voting?

      Is it the fact that its “somekat” that posted?
      Cant find any reason to give this a thumb down.

    • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      I had been watching Labrie in Norfolk for a year or two before they went to Syracuse…. I have a feeling he could beat Rinaldo with the size advantage, but it’d still be close. He’s the guy to watch for during that game.

    • pfhockey - Sep 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      That comment is so biased, I’m a bolts fan, and YES, I’m aware some of our players do some questionable things. But it seems to me, nearly everytime I watch a Flyers game, there is a big scrum. That being said, and the fact that you displayed you don’t watch the Lightning that much, it’s quite hypocritical that you’d say the Bolts are whiners. I wouldn’t say nobody could beat Rinaldo either, though I really respect him for his fighting skills(probably THE fastest punch in the league), assuming players that have an advantage, it’s naive of you to say that. Crombeen likes to fight but is not a good fighter, so don’t get hyped bud.

  2. mcphillthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I would hope that Tampa gives a huge welcome to a class guy like Vinny. As a flyers fan I was thrilled to hear we signed Vinny. Not just because he is a great hockey player but because of the class he shows and his involvement in his community. I love to see players who give back to those who need help. Vinny is a class act and should receive the warmest of welcomes upon his return.

  3. malkinrulez - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I’m curious who on the Ning will exact this revenge, Labrie? I smell another beat down by Rinaldo

    • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      radko gudas = lights out for rinaldo.

      • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        oh yeah him too (in addition to my comment about Labrie up top). Gudas has the ability to lay a punishing hit on a streaking Rinaldo too. Rinaldo needs to keep his head up against them this year… they may not be coming for a fight, but a hit.

    • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      don’t sleep on Labrie.

  4. isithockeyseasonyet - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Given all the trash the lightning guys were talking, wouldn’t it be a violation if anybody besides crombeen goes after rinaldo? If it was such a cheap shot, wouldn’t you want a second chance? Given the look on crombeen’s face, it’s not like he remembers the first time he tried so he has nothing to be afraid of, right? lol

  5. faustandrew - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    If you think Radko Gudas is going to be patrolling your bottom 6, helping you take down guys like Rinaldo, I would be much more worried about your season than just the Flyers alone.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      i’m not a lightning fan but i know enough about them to know he was a regular toward the end of last season and has the potential to be a regular this year. i’d be willing to bet money that barring injury he’s in the lineup 11/27.

    • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      1. Gudas IS an NHL-level player. He’s 23, just now coming up from the farm system. He’ll be there to stay soon enough.
      2. Gudas won’t be “patrolling a bottom 6,” seeing as how he’s a defenseman.
      3. Who said Lightning fans weren’t worried already? (lol sorry had to throw the low blow in there, Bolts fans)

  6. mp1131211 - Sep 12, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I guess philly has to take their victories where they can get them, because they ain’t going to come in the W column this year again.

  7. tcclark - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    You had me until you said they pried Matt Carle away from Philly. I cheered when i saw he signed in Tampa and laughed when I saw the price. The only thing better would have been if he tied Pittsburgh’s cap up instead of Tampa’s.

  8. President Charles Logan - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    hockey………..needs more of this

  9. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    The threats of retribution are fun and all, but ultimately I’d like to see the Lightning just take care of business. Let the Flyers try to turn it into a boxing match as they often do, because as long as we play our game and don’t get baited into the nonsense we generally win the season series fairly handily.

  10. imoutofnames - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Carle was a waste and a turnover machine. I wouldn’t exactly call the Lightning signing him as a potential storyline that will cause “fireworks.” If anything they helped via addition by subtraction. Not that I’m saying our defense is in any way good, because it isn’t, but Carle only looked good while Pronger was healthy; after that, Carle just payed poorly for 20 minutes per game. Carle didn’t even play that well with Pronger, he just had an amazing partner to cover for his constant mistakes.

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