I just don't make a huge deal out of games like the one tonight between the Komets and Rapid City Rush.
Why? Because, in 15 seasons covering this team, I've never once seen a rivalry carry over to the next season. The only possible exception I can think of would be Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, just because of the proximity of the teams. Strangely, that didn't hold up for the Komets and Kalamazoo.
I guess this is just a reality of minor-league hockey. There's not enough carryover for these things to remain heated. There are only 16 players -- eight from each team -- left from last spring's great playoff series.
Really, it's more for the fans that these things get billed as "grudge matches," and the fans always end up being let down when instead of brawls, they get snoozers.
Of course, the powers that be are never smart with these things anyway. If they were, they'd have scheduled Fort Wayne and Rapid City to play a bunch this season, to heck with the cost. Instead, they play only five times, and only once in Fort Wayne.
So, I don't expect much carry over from last season. I hope I'm wrong, though, because it's more fun to cover a good, old-fashioned grudge match.