1) Already the comparisons have begun between the Cup Champs of 2004 and the champs of 2006. Though we believe these are not warranted
2) The only similarities these teams have is that they both came from the same division and were Cup champs. From there the similarities evaporate!
3) The most glaring difference is the fact that the Lightning really weren't the defending Cup champs last year. No one was. The Lightning lost their starting goalie to free agency and went last year with a very poor tandem in Graham and the elderly Burke. while the Hurricanes have their star from last season in net, Ward, and can use the aforementioned Graham as he should be, as a back up.
4) Coaches: We have never been big John Tortorella fans. Though we admire his feistyness behind the bench. However, we believe that that same attribute tends to be short lived in getting the most from his players. ( Most successful coaches seem to be more level headed) If one watched Bowman, Arbour, etc during a game you would be hard pressed to know who was winning. Laviolette on the other hand is far less of a 'hot head', and we believe will get far more in the long run from his squad.
5) How all this will play out as the season progresses is any one's guess( we had the Hurricane in the playoffs, but not winning the division), but we believe the Hurricane stand a far better chance to maintain their position as an elite team than the Lightning.