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Time to panic? Wait for 10,000 lakes to freeze

If the Leafs and Rangers are toast already, when do the Wild-Lightning Stanley Cup final tickets go on sale?

Updated: October 30, 2002, 2:40 PM ET
By Terry Frei | Special to ESPN.com

It's too soon for the NHL's slow-starting teams -- and their followers -- to panic.

Really.

Let's put it this way: If the disappointing starts of the Maple Leafs, Rangers and others this season are irreversible and automatically indicative of long-term problems, then the converse should be true, right? Is everyone counting on that Tampa Bay Lightning-Minnesota Wild Stanley Cup final? Vinny vs. Marian? St. Petersburg (and Tampa and Clearwater) vs. St. Paul (and Minneapolis and Bloomington)?

We ...

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