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Friendly Rivals

Mac2 Don't expect to see Doug MacLean wearing Panthers gear anytime soon.

He's just become one of Florida's principal rivals.

MacLean, who coached the Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, is part of a group buying the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have confirmed the deal, and a presser will be held at the Ice Palace today at 11.

The Lightning are owned by Palace Sports and Entertainment, also the parent group of the Detroit Pistons. It'll be interesting to see what the new ownership group -- it still has to be approved -- has in store for the Bolts.

MacLean's group is called Absolute Hockey Enterprises. The main investors: Coral Springs real estate developer Jeff Sherrin and movie/TV producer Oren Koules (Saw, Two and a Half Men, the Dumb and Dumber sequel).

According to the little bit I'm getting out of Tampa, MacLean says there is no way the team is going anywhere and that all three main investors are moving to the Tampa area. Also, according to the Tampa Trib, John Tortorella has two years left on his deal and GM Jay Feaster has four. MacLean says he wants to keep things status quo, at least for now. No word on what their payroll will be, nor how much the franchise went for.

-- Questions not answered: Will Charlie Sheen drop the puck on Opening Night? And if he does, will he wear his Rick 'Wild Thing' Vaughn horn rims? Rickyvaughn_2