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And Another Thing

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Indianapolis: Join the club

Some ideas require popping the hood, kicking the tires and slipping behind the wheel for a nice long test drive.

Then there's this idea: Indianapolis in the ECHL.

It's a great big forehead-slapping Well, Duh of an idea, geographically and in every other way. Not only would it give the ECHL three teams (Evansville, Fort Wayne and Indy) within a six-hour radius, thus easing travel costs, it would revive one of the great rivalries of the old IHL: The Komets vs. the Ice.

If you weren't around for it, suffice it to say it was one of those rivalries that got better and more outlandish with passing of years. Did Kerry Toporowski and Steve Fletcher drop the gloves and go at it every time the teams played, or does it just seem like it now? Was Jimmy Waite (and, yes, a young Dominik Hasek) as impenetrable between the pipes as remembered? And what about that epic 1991 playoff Game 7 in the Pepsi Coliseum?

Yes, what about that?

I was there, and if 22 years have now passed (speaking of fading memory), I still remember it as one of the two or three best hockey games I ever saw. Waite was a wall in the Indy goal. Stephane Beauregard was a magician in the Komets' goal. And in the end, with two utterly exhausted teams slogging up and down the ice in overtime, it was Lonnie Loach who got the game-winner on one last leg-weary breakaway.

I never saw two teams leave it all out there the way the Ice and Komets did that night. It was the game that launched their rivalry, and my lasting memory of it is the spent vacancy in defenseman Danny Lambert's eyes in the dressing room afterward, and a couple of excitable young hockey execs -- Michael and David Franke -- charging arm-in-arm onto the ice after Loach's goal.

I'm still waiting for them to slip and wind up on their backsides. And I'm still waiting for Indy-Fort Wayne to come 'round again.

Here's hoping.

Ben Smith's blog.

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