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COMMENT





Hogan, Hitman renew rivalry at rink
By BRET HART - Calgary Sun
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Well, well, well. The wires have been burnin' up. It's an insignificant fact a great many of the world's pro wrestlers, old and new, reside in Tampa.

Throughout the week, I've been receiving countless, tasteless and totally uncalled-for jabs about our beloved Flames on my voicemail.

It shouldn't have come as any big surprise to me the Lightning resurrected that old dinosaur, Hulk Hogan, to help spur on the team and its fans.

I remember being in Tampa when nobody even knew what hockey was.

But there was a time, a few years back, when I visited The Hulkster and he told me he was an avid Lightning fan with season tickets and he and his son Nicholas never missed a game.

So, I can at least say my old nemesis is not a bandwagon jumper.

In truth, I think his support can only help and anything that helps promote Canada's gift to the world -- hockey -- in America can only be a good thing.

Not to mention the super job his 16-year-old daughter Brooke has been doing singing both national anthems. I'm tempted to throw a Flames jersey on my pug Coombs and haul him out to centre ice to sing -- but I'm worried he might get some of the words wrong. He's cute but not that cute.

Interestingly enough, there are many transplanted Canadian wrestlers living in Tampa.

I'm relieved to say Chris Jericho has remained true to his Calgary heritage by backing the Flames. In fact, Jericho, Chris Benoit, The Edge and even Trish Stratus are behind the Sea of Red all the way.

Benoit, who hails from Edmonton, told

me how every scrap of Flames merchandise has been sold in Edmonton. I thought, 'My God, pretty soon cats will be sleeping with dogs!'

But then I've had the likes of Brian Knobs of the notorious Nasty Boys confide in me he's been secretly coaching Lightning forward (and former Flame) Cory Stillman, teaching him all those nasty little tricks he used to try to use on me.

But Flames defenceman Andrew Ference did a nice job of 'nasty-izing' Stillman in a Game 2 punchup.

Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart, a longtime Tampa resident, has no misgivings about backing the Flames, claiming Chris Simon may, in fact, be one of his long-lost brothers. In fact, the Anvil will be proud to be in attendance tonight wearing a signed Theo Fleury jersey he's been saving for just the right occasion.

I'm picturing it now -- Hulk passing out Flintstones vitamins while Vincent Lecavalier and the rest of the Lightning are on their knees, hands clasped, saying their prayers as their best and only hope.

All I know is the sight of The Hulkster peeling off one of his four-sizes-too-small T-shirts just doesn't move me and I think I know why.

The Hulkster doesn't look right in blue. Perhaps I need to remind him the colours he wore as a wrestling champion were, of course, red and yellow.

My parting words to The Hulkster are: The Lightning will be excellently executed.

Go Flames Go!


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